There are a number of signals that help us understand the health of an organization’s culture: customer satisfaction, employee engagement scores, level of innovation. Some organizations excel in these areas because they have developed an authentic culture, one where the organization lives out its values and vision and one that takes time to learn and grow.
So what does an inauthentic culture look like? Where do you see examples of inauthentic organizations? Perhaps the recent United Airlines situation where a passenger was brutally removed from a plane and was badly injured in the process is a good example. Do you think the organization lived up to its values? Do you think employees feared for their jobs if they did “not follow policy”?
On the flip side of United Airlines is Southwest Airlines. From its founding, Southwest’s mission included a strong commitment to its employees. In the latest customer service rankings by J.D. Power and Associates, Southwest Airlines scored highest among low cost providers.
We would love to hear from you – let us know examples of authentic cultures and inauthentic cultures. We can help organizations live up to their potential when we recognize what is working and what is not working.
- Say one thing but do another –
for example, organization touts empowerment but all decisions come from the top
- Have unsafe environments –
for example, employees fear losing their jobs or being punished
- Try to be something they are not –
for example, management creates a matrixed organization structure, but the culture does not follow suit
- Put short-term results above people –
for example, a workforce reduction is put in place so management can reach an annual financial goal
- Live up to their values –
for example, management routinely considers the effect their decisions have on ALL stakeholders
- Encourage honest feedback –
for example, performance management system has a 360 feedback process
- Organization is highly self aware –
for example, the organization knows not to expand into areas where it has little expertise
- Drives a long-term vision –
for example, management retains as many key people as possible in a recession to continue its long term growth strategy