I was afforded the task recently of listening to several of my corporate friends opine about their frustration and disillusionment with the unmistakable cutthroat culture that has become their daily work environments. They seem to conclude that some of the evolution can be blamed on the high tech, competitive and results oriented demands that exist within most large corporations. None of them, however, seemed to want to place more than a very small percentage on that reasoning. This is where it get’s really interesting. As they are all corporate managers and executives, they begrudgingly acknowledged that they are “probably” (no one gave a full admission) part of the problem.

As a rejoinder, I reminded them that not all corporations have, or allow, that kind of organizational culture to exist. Here is a quote taken from the mission statement of Microsoft, one of the largest profit oriented organizations on the planet:

“In our relationships with each other, we strive to be open, honest, and respectful in sharing our ideas and thoughts, and in receiving input.”
Why do you think they have found it beneficial to pay attention to their internal environment? It is because of the calendar. If you check the nearest calendar you will find that it reads 2015 and not 1985. As Yogi Berra once said, “The future ain’t what it used to be.” I would add, neither is our business climate. The world is a never-ending, revolving, dynamic and progressive place. The business world we function in is no different.

Today’s employees are much more attentive and concerned about the “quality of life” elements that exists around them. Everyone values pay. It is a universal language. It is as important today as it was in 1985. In the past, how much you paid your employees was the barometer of the value of your organization as a destination for employees. The more you paid, the more likely your company was depicted as being the “au courant” place of employment. That’s no longer true for a number of reasons. The primary reason is that pay, although still important, is only one of the criteria used to make decisions on employment. Right up there as 1A through 1Z are those elements that relate to, time off, tele-commuting (working from home), child care, fitness (walking after lunch), health benefits, and most of all, an environment free of tough talk, retribution and profanity.

Paying attention to your internal culture does not mean that you have to be passive, soft or indifferent as it relates to being competitive. In fact, it is your absolute responsibility as a manager, or executive, to ensure that mistakes and errors are minimized. Otherwise, you will never become the “world class” organization that is touted in all of your marketing. The path to improvement and success, however, must be tempered with a holistic approach to business. That means you should foster an attitude within your organization that everything matters, not just the bottom line. In order to be a winning organization, in today’s environment, you must also have a commitment to being open, honest, and respectful.

I dare you to try it!

Lewis Parham
Writer’s Cramp, Inc.