Culture is a tricky thing.
When it’s working fine, no one notices it. But when it starts to deteriorate, everyone scrambles to find out why.
That’s the reason successful companies do everything they can to build and keep a healthy organizational culture.
They know that it sets a productive atmosphere in the workplace, which helps motivate employees to bring the business to the next level.
So they actively find ways to keep engaging their people, rewarding positive attitudes, and nurturing the right core values.
But while it takes time and energy to maintain a great culture, it can be easily undermined by complacency and hiring the wrong people.
As a business-owner, how will you know that the culture in your organization is headed for the gutters? Here are 5 red flags that can tell you things are going downhill.
1. No one knows the vision-mission statements
If no one knows the vision-mission statements, the organization is in trouble. It means that nobody cares.
Vision-mission statements are not just shiny words next to the company logo on the wall.
They represent the very identity of the business.
They spell out the purpose of why you’re doing what you’re doing and articulate the methods on how to reach your goals.
And when they are not discussed openly, when no one talks about them and how they can be put into action, they become a string of words that are empty of meaning.
2. Gossips, not feedback
Feedback is the breakfast of champions. It helps spur innovation and effective decision-making.
But when people would rather join chitchats than communicate, the organization is failing in creating a sense of trust and safety for feedback to flourish.
In turn, ideas that could have pushed the company forward do not reach the decision-makers and instead are allowed to morph into resentments.
3. Lack of excitement
An organization with a great culture is humming with activities. People are standing up, talking, collaborating, and making meaningful connections.
A declining one is marked with a lack of team spirit and a lack of enthusiasm. Employees are stiff, isolated, and focused on unhealthy competition.
4. You are surrounded with “yes-people”
Having employees who are great to work with is good. They make your life in the office less stressful.
However, it’s not to your advantage if you are surrounded by yes-people.
Yes-people bend over backwards to make you feel good about the way you’re running the business even when things are going to the wrong direction.
They’re the type who people who aren’t really interested in doing hardwork and making an impact to get promoted, they’re more into giving the business owners (or their superiors) some lip service to gain their approval and be promoted.
These are the kind of people who are only think of themselves, and aren’t interested in helping their colleague or the company grow.
5. No accountability
Another telltale sign of a culture that’s going bad is the lack of accountability.
When wrongdoings go unpunished and good deeds are not rewarded, people will develop the wrong set of skills and attitudes.
They will try to game the system, do everything they need to avoid getting caught, and shift blame to other people.
When you see any or all of the above signs, act quickly. Not doing anything will only make the situation worse.
You can begin by reviewing your vision-mission statement, improving the way feedback is handled, opening channels of communication, and creating clear reward-and-recognition program.
After all, keeping a finger on the pulse of your organizational culture is essential to your success.