Company culture is usually thought to be a reflection of the type of business the company is involved in, the types of people who work there, the country in which the company’s power base lies, or a combination of these factors. This is only partly true. These factors certainly play a role in refining the basic organizational culture.
However, two of the most telling indicators of the true operating culture of a company are the personalities of its original founder(s) and of the current CEO. Examine how the company works, takes decisions, treats its employees, develops its key processes or any other major operational matter, and in most cases the core values that lie behind the approaches selected reflect those of founder and current CEO, regardless of the economic branch(es) in which the company is active.
Why is this important? For anyone deciding to take up a position there, it can make an enormous difference how even senior employees are treated. But also, as the culture affects performance and performance in turn impacts on share price, an examination of the culture is highly relevant for investors and/or banks.
So, next time you want to size up a company, take a moment to identify the core values , through questions such as:
• What drives employee behavior?
• How are people motivated?
• How are the main processes determined?
• Where is employee morale on a scale of 1-10?
• How are decisions made?
Then compare the answers with the known character traits and attitudes of the founder(s) and/or the CEO and you may be surprised how much consistency there is.