I’ve been thinking a good dealWin Back the People Who Once Walked Out on You. Read more ... » about company culture lately. Over the past yearTop 10 People With The Highest Salaries in the World. Read more ... », I watched as two newly hired, talented senior executives failed pretty spectacularly at two different companies – and in both cases, the problem6 Best Telenovelas of All Time: Marimar, El Clon, and More. Read more ... » was a poor cultural fitIt's Time for Your Business to Have an Online Presence. Read more ... ».
Interestingly, both people were hired as ‘changeFULL TEXT: Cape Town Inauguration Speech (Famous speeches by Madiba). Read more ... » agents’ – that is, the CEOs who hired them saw qualities in these folks they thought were missing in their current senior teams, and wanted to bring these newMy husband loves what I wear; I don’t dress to please anyone – Stephanie Benson. Read more ... » people in to ‘shake things up.’ In one situation, the new hire was a highly creative, riskHow To Make Wise Career Decisions. Read more ... »-taking, non-linear thinker - and the CEOTop 10 People With The Highest Salaries in the World. Read more ... » hired him because he thought his media company had gotten too stodgy and numbers-focused, and had lost its creative edge. In the other situation, the CEO thought his executive team (and in fact the whole company) was too ‘nice’; wasn’t honest enough about sharing tough news and wasn’t aggressive enough in the marketplace – and so he hired a woman who was very results-focused and assertive.
Unfortunately, in both cases, once the personMandela death: Who next as the world's elder statesman?. Read more ... » was hired, the CEO didn’t do anything to support the change he supposedly wanted…and the cultures chewed up and spit out the new people in pretty short orderFULL TEXT: Cape Town Inauguration Speech (Famous speeches by Madiba). Read more ... ». The new folks kept being who and how they were, and doing workTop 10 People With The Highest Salaries in the World. Read more ... » in the way they were used to working, and it made people (the CEOs included) uncomfortable because it didn’t seem “normal.”
I read a statistic recently that 89% of hiring failures are due to poor cultural fit. In fact, I read a bunch of interesting stuff on the website of a company called RoundPegg that focuses on helping companies accurately asses their culture, and then assess job candidates for fit with the culture. I loveWhat life took from me / Lo que la vida me robó telenovela full story . Read more ... » that there are companies focusing on this. For too long, leadershipIs Africa’s negative image justified? Eleven viewpoints. Read more ... » at most companies has hugely underestimated the importance of company culture as a factor in hiring. I think job candidates have historically overlooked this key element, as well. Part of the problem, I believe, is that we’ve had no clear definition of corporate culture – we think of it as a murky, amorphous, “I don’t know art but I know what I like” kindWin Back the People Who Once Walked Out on You. Read more ... » of thing.
Here’s the definition we propose when we’re doing work with our clients on corporate culture:
Corporate culture: Patterns of accepted behavior, and the beliefs and values that promote and reinforce them.
One thing I like about this definition is that it helps explain why corporate culture is so difficult to change (not impossible, mind you, but difficult). Culture may show itself as how people behave…but that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. Those behaviors arise from beliefs about ‘how we ought to behave’ and those arise from values – core principles people hold about what’s important; what’s valuable.
An example: in the second situation I mentioned above, the CEO thought his company was too ‘nice’ and he wanted this new person to come in helpWhat life took from me / Lo que la vida me robó telenovela full story . Read more ... » them be ‘tougher.’ However, his people behave in careful, accommodating ways because most people in the organizationHow to Create Great Content for Your Website. Read more ... » valueHow to Create Great Content for Your Website. Read more ... » kindness: they see being kind to others as a key element of the organization they want. The organization has hired and promoted to that value for many years. And further, they believe that being kind means being positive and somewhat indirect – avoiding confrontation and tough feedback.
So when this new exec came in, operating in a direct, no-nonsense way, and holding people explicitly accountable for results and for being honest about what was working and what wasn’t — the organization had an allergic reaction. It wasn’t just that she was behaving in new ways; to them she was trampling on their deeply-held (though largely unconscious) beliefs and values. And sadly, even though she started to get great results – she was just too big a disconnect on a cultural levelThe Two Most Important Words. Read more ... ».
Changing culture is a rather complex and delicate process; it doesnWhat life took from me / Lo que la vida me robó telenovela full story . Read more ... »’t happen by just throwing someoneWhat life took from me / Lo que la vida me robó telenovela full story . Read more ... » counter-cultural into the mix.
So beware: Don’t make the mistake of thinking that corporate culture is some airy-fairy thing that doesn’t really matter. If you’re thinking of joining an organization, explore the culture to see if it’s a good fit for you. (Here’s a great post by Ritika Trikha on how to do that.) And if you’re a manager or a staffing person, get very clear on what your company culture is, and lookHow is Your Website Doing So Far This Year?. Read more ... » for a fit with your culture as assiduously as you sortJobs for Africa’s young people. Read more ... » for experience124 Amazing and Beautiful Quotes. Read more ... » and skills when hiring someone new.
Do you have a good or bad ‘culture fit’ storyWhat life took from me / Lo que la vida me robó telenovela full story . Read more ... »? – Have you, or someone you know, failed at a job because of a cultural mismatch? Or have you succeeded brilliantly because you and the organization were so simpatico? I’d love to hear about it…