A company culture is something that is very difficult to describe, let alone create. One of the blogs I read, systematicHR, posted up an interesting response post which covers the top-down flow effect that a CEO has on company culture. I think the closing lines sum it up very nicely:
The CEO absolutely defines culture whether they intend to or not. HR then further defines what that strategy will look like.
So what are some ways that a CEO can do this? Well I like realestate.com.au‘s approach of having a CEO blog and bi-annual company conferences where the CEO presents the company achievements, strategy and goals. Just engaging in this open communication helps create an open culture, but the real key is in the actual organisational strategy. As the post says, this strategy will directly dictate culture and will change depending on the nature of the business.
Having worked in a sales organisation almost 5 years I would say there is a very fine line between a competitive and a demoralising organisational strategy (and therefore company culture). The nature of sales people and cycles makes this line a fluctuating target. The two biggest things I believe are:
- Consistency – client spread, discipline, sense of fairness
- Communication – Competitive but still collaborative (teams help)
In the end I guess the key is to clearly communicate and inspire passion for what you do. People will pick this up whether it is active or passive and positive or negative. The moral of the story is be aware of your influence.