Why do some corporate cultures survive trauma while others cannot?
What can kill or strengthen a culture? Why are some resilient? What danger signs warn leaders that a culture may be in trouble? And how can they turn the culture around?
For four decades, D. Mark Schumann has worked inside notorious corporate cultures, from Southwest Airlines to Enron, ExxonMobil to American Express, Cathay Pacific to Kimberly-Clark. Each faced trauma. Some survived. Some did not. And their lessons can teach today’s leaders how to maneuver a culture through the challenges of the certain to strengthen an organization’s environment and results.
Mark offers an insider’s journey through the realities of corporate culture to provide a blueprint for an employee experience that will last through the bumps and grinds, disappointments and setbacks, to be a workplace where people want to bring their best to do their best. A resilient culture that can, and will, survive the next trauma. And the one that’s still going on.
In this timely conversation, Mark applies the lessons of cultures that have survived trauma, and some that have not, to how leaders can navigate the challenges of COVID to create a resilient workplace that will survive. He specifically addresses how leaders can maneuver through the changes in how, where and when people work to reach beyond the brick and mortar traditions to create vibrant virtual communities that attract the talent the organization needs.
In the current war for talent, the experience an organization offers to workers (traditional and contingent) is as critical as traditional opportunities and rewards. Fueled by a sense of expectation and connection, and goodness, workers continue to be more aware of what companies offer as well as more in touch with what organizations stand for. No more is the culture war about gimmicks. Now it must speak to who people are and how they want to contribute to a greater world.
Many a leader may say, “Let’s build a culture that puts people first.” Easier said than done. The journey must begin with a leader looking inside to confirm an authentic commitment to people. New workers arrive with x-ray vision to see through false promises. They want to be needed, recognized, valued and supported in their personal lives as well as for their professional contributions by leaders who dare to care about them as people. To create a human workplace, leaders must first discover their own humanity as they develop cultural sensibility.
In any organization, leaders may think the culture is healthy. After all, people come to work every day. But what do leaders actually know about a culture’s health from the responses to traditional engagement surveys? A culture’s true health is more tied to how people work than what messages an organization shares. And no matter how healthy you think your culture may be, until you put it through a real diagnosis, you will have no idea what toxins may lurk underneath. Take the first step to ensure your culture’s health.
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