Author’s note: this is part of a long blog series on corporate culture. Feel free to look back on previous blogs to explore previous material on evaluating, changing and establishing your corporate culture within the business context.
From the exercise listed in the previous blog, you have collected a list of what others think of your reputation from three different sources: employee exit interviews, business peers such as your banker and accountant, and the competitive world through clients and consultants.
What you have so far is a list of other people’s opinions of your business, and the temptation will be to filter it based on your own “observations.” Remember your “observations” are very likely your blind spots – so don’t edit the list.
What you do need to do, however, is separate the list. Not everything on the list will be about your company’s existing culture.
Some items will be unfounded and mere complaints. These items will need to be evaluated and address separately. Nothing should be discarded because even if untrue, someone has that as an opinion and you need to root out the source and make sure no one else shares it.
Aside from these items, everything else is about your real, unfiltered company’s culture.
The Good Stuff
Don’t be surprised by what you receive as positive feedback about your business. You may receive practically nothing positive, but don’t take that as a negative. Most people’s natural reaction when asked to provide feedback is to think of and share concerns and areas for improvement. There are good things about every business and you need to coach those you are asking for feedback to also think of positives.
The “good stuff” you receive will fall into two categories.
First, you will get reinforcement of some of your efforts to build you company. Someone will surely notice things like buying new service vehicles, a new phone system, or how efficient you staff has responded over the years. Any kernel of information is confirmation of something you are doing is right. Look carefully at the source of the information and how it is presented. This will lay the groundwork for how to promote new initiatives in the future.
The unexpected positive feedback is there for you to mine. Look at the source of the comment but trace the information back to where it might have originated.
For instance, your banker noted that they have heard how quickly your service staff responds to service calls. This did not originate with the banker but was significant enough for someone to share and for the banker to remember. That is powerful. The importance of service call, in this example, may be a blind spot for you and could be used in future company promotions. It is an existing culture of your business that you were unaware and needs to be a prime selling point for your company.
Second, other than being used as an inventory of your company’s culture, these positive aspects of your company need to be used internal to your company to build momentum for future changes.
You have been given a great opportunity to go back to your staff to celebrate the great things your business is doing. These are opportunities to pat people on the back, acknowledge them internally and externally and reward them. This sets the pattern when you are attempting to change some of the negative behaviors in the future, your staff will know that you pay attention and will reward positive changes.
Remember 1 Thessalonians 5:11.
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
God encourages you to build others up just has He builds you up. Do not miss any opportunity to praise and encourage your employees for the tremendous job they are doing for you.