Soft Culture Matters as Much as Hard Numbers

April 25, 2012 § 1 Comment

In a recent article in Fortune, Jack Welch and Suzy Welch stated that “Soft culture matters as much as hard numbers.”

Jack Welch

Jack Welch

But the reality is, though, that too many leaders don’t understand the importance of culture like Jack and Suzy. “They think a company’s values can be relegated to a five-minute conversation between HR and a new employee. Or they think culture is about picking which words — do we ‘honor’ our customers or ‘respect’ them? — to engrave on a plaque in the lobby.”

According to Derek Irvine in his recent blog post on TLNT,  this is pure nonsense. “An organization’s culture is not about words at all. It’s about behavior — and consequences. It’s about every single individual who manages people knowing that his or her key role is that of chief values officer, with Sarbanes-Oxley-like enforcement powers to match. It’s about knowing that at every performance review, employees are evaluated for both their numbers and their values.”

Fortune points to several foundational requirements for building a winning culture of recognition that is proven to drive bottom-line business results through increased employee engagement, retention, productivity and performance including:

  1. Making culture an ongoing topic of conversation, training and reinforcement instead of a one-time event
  2. Taking the values off the plaque on the wall and deeply integrating them into the daily work of employees
  3. Clear rewards – and consequences – for how employees reflect the values in their work.

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