Corporate Culture

"Commit to Caring for the Culture More than the Quarter"

“You have to commit to caring for the culture more than the quarter.” This is the ideal mantra that every business leader should adopt. Jessica Herrin, founder and CEO of Stella & Dot Family Brands, was recently interviewed for the New York Times, and she seems to have the right idea about putting employees and business partners’ psychological safety first. If more CEOs had the same attitude, they’d see a difference in the quality of the work their employees do and a difference in their bottom lines – not to mention that creating an environment of well-being is simply the right thing to do. Check out the full interview at the New York Times.

Photo credit: Earl Wilson for NYT

Defining Corporate Culture

Corporate culture, while immensely important to creating psychologically safe workplaces, can be difficult to define. This article by Jacob Morgan provides an interesting framework to define and create corporate culture. To paraphrase the article, it’s less about giving employees free snacks and more about creating an environment of inclusiveness that promotes engagement and productivity. Check out the full article at Forbes. Graphic credit Jacob Morgan.

Response to VW's Press Conference on 12/10

Some credit can be given to Volkswagen for admitting that their emissions cheating scandal was the result of “a chain of errors that were allowed to happen” by a “climate of fear” created by management. However, the focus should be on that culture of intimidation, rather than the notion that the cheating was allowed to happen due to poor organizational management between R&D and implementation of new technologies. While that is certainly a contributing factor, the heart of the scandal is why employees didn’t come forward and blow the whistle sooner, and what cultural elements existed at VW to encourage immoral behavior. VW still has a lot to answer for, and business leaders should be taking notice of the possible results of a psychologically unsafe workplace. See more on the press conference at the New York Times.

At Wells Fargo, How Far did Bank's Sales Culture Go?

The appalling actions allegedly taken by Wells Fargo employees, such opening fake accounts or predatory client targeting, were driven by a sales-focused corporate culture gone too far. Managerial emphasis on short-term goals created enough pressure for employees to resort to unethical strategies to avoid being reprimanded or fired. Situations like the one at VW, and now Wells Fargo, beg the question – why don’t more employees blow the whistle? The truth is that while employees may partake in immoral practices, the corporate culture that encourages them is rooted in the management style of the company’s leaders. Check out this Wall Street Journal article, and my blog post from May when these allegations first arose, for more information.