Culture check

Even the best marketing ideas have failed in someone's inept or dispirited hands. A negative culture is more than a match for any marketing concept.

An important marketing tool then is an assessment of corporate culture. This requires an external operator (like a consultant) because staff will usually lie to management about corporate culture and management will usually misjudge the situation.

It's also important to determine the cause of a negative culture, so that targeted solutions can be used.

  • Persistent failure, where there is no sense of learning from mistakes, will breed negative culture.
  • Poor leadership, where staff do not respect management, is a sure killer.
  • Sometimes however a corporate culture just becomes negative in a self-reinforcing way. It can start with something as simple as a perception of unfair or preferential treatment. It can feed on jokes, like You want it when? and comments like That'd be right or What do you expect around here?"

Once it gets going, negative culture intimidates people who might not agree with it, and then grinds them down.
What happens is that jokey comments, repeated enough, become real.
Fortunately the opposite is true, that if you get people to start saying positive things, after a while the positivity rubs off too.
It's  a leadership role, to jump on people being negative and say, Actually it's not like that around here, or Bill, I like your work, but there's no room for that kind of attitude here, it's too destructive, or even If that's what you think, why don't you do something about it? If you can get your people fired up about workplace culture, they will crush negativity far more effectively than you can. And the fact is that most employees place a very high value on the emotional quality of their workplace, often higher than their bosses.