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7 Ways to a Healthy Corporate Culture

Go behind the curtain at Whole Foods and Southwest Airlines, two companies that personify a healthy and dynamic corporate culture.

Is your company culture healthy or in need of a check-up?

The answer to this question makes up the life-blood that flows through the veins of your organization. Here are a few things to think about:

• Are there opportunities in your company for personal growth? Do employees feel their work provides some kind of meaning in their lives?

• Does everyone have a clear understanding of company vision and direction? How do they perceive the relationship between themselves and the products they sell?

• What are the values and beliefs of your company? Is there a shared vision of mutual respect? How do employees view the relationship between company and customer?

It’s the culture that embodies the attitudes, values and beliefs of everyone in the company. It’s your company’s personality. And it begins with the leadership of top management. The behavior of the leadership team, how they deal with difficult situations and the ways in which they communicate, all have a considerable impact and contribute to the overall tone of the culture.

In an industry where you’re in front of the customer everyday, working through the frustrations of integrating new (sometimes untested) technologies and battling the stresses of a soft economy, it’s hard to hide the true values and beliefs of your company. It’s those unintentional overheard conversations behind the equipment rack that can really provide a clear picture of what your company’s all about.

That’s why it’s crucial that you’ve hired the right people; everyone in your company carries the same belief system and they are all headed in the same direction. Having deep roots in the A/V industry for over 30 years, I’ve been fortunate to have experienced what it takes to make your company a great place to work.

In a 2013 survey about Culture and Change Management, the Katzenbach Center at Booz & Company gathered responses from executives, managers and employees from various industries and job functions worldwide. Over half of the respondents believe their organization’s culture is in need of a major overhaul.

Lessons to be Learned

Let’s take a look at Whole Foods and Southwest Airlines, two companies that personify a healthy and dynamic culture. Each created corporate environments where employees (really) enjoy going to work. They give their personal best everyday, take pride in their accomplishments and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that their efforts are appreciated.

So, what’s behind the curtain? Although they have their individual and distinctive identities, both companies have an unwavering commitment to 3 core values: community, mutual respect and commitment to productivity; visions that reach far beyond being a grocery retailer and commercial airline.

Instilling a sense of trust and creating a healthy balance is one of the first steps towards improving company culture. The alternative of maintaining an environment of dissatisfied employees fosters a downward spiral of productivity that often results in the diminished health of the company. Whether it’s a positive and healthy culture or negative and misaligned, it will make its way throughout the company and eventually have a corresponding impact on the bottom line.

Keep reading to find out seven things you can do right now to improve your company’s culture.