Company culture is the atmosphere of your organization. It guides your employees, either formally or informally, on how to behave while at work. It also serves as a set of unwritten rules of what is acceptable at work. If your company has a results-driven model that thrives on competition internally and out in the marketplace, then you undoubtedly have a very competitive spirit running throughout the company culture. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with this, as competition can drive innovation. However, too much competition can skew your company culture and guide your employees towards activities that don’t represent your company’s ideals, values or mission.
A Misdirected Company Culture Creates An “At All Costs” Mindset
It’s important to understand that competition can be healthy and productive. However, too much emphasis on growth and profit can cause employees to feel pressure, both personally and professionally, to produce results “by any means necessary.”
This mindset is reflected in the company’s culture and the marketplace. Your employees are the ambassadors and messengers of your business. If they adopt work habits that are not focussed on the needs of the client and inline with your mission, the client will know.
Wells Fargo, A Company Culture Gone Astray
Wells Fargo’s recent scandal is a good example of unhealthy competition. Of course, there are other factors that came into play in the incident, but it is evident there was a skewed culture that allowed employees to create fake accounts which may have been fueled by unrealistic expectations set by higher-ups.
The result was devastating for the bank and the employee’s lives. Of course, a corporation their size can absorb the effects of the scandal. But, smaller companies may not have the resources to bounce back. That is why it is important for managers to foster and continually reinforce acceptable and moral actions in employees.
What Does It Take To Prevent Unhealthy Competition?
The keys to avoiding unethical actions lie in the onboarding of new employees and the continual emphasis, or sole emphasis, on competition focussed on the company’s growth. When new hires are on-boarded, they need to understand that whatever benefits the company benefits everyone. They also need to know that when a team or a rep does a great job the whole company benefits. But, if the rep achieved success through underhanded tactics that were supported by the company, the negative repercussions will affect everyone.
The next layer to managing competition is active management. Good managers guide their teams by developing the correct mindset for competition. They continually reinforce the idea that competition has the goal of improving growth and profit for the company, not just for individuals. By building collaborative relationships between team members, you reinforce the mindset that employees have a vested interest in the company and vice versa. It’s also important that the company values reflect the company’s goals. For example, if a company has identified one of their values as collaboration then this value should be operationalized within employees’ practices. The company’s identified core values should guide any employee to make the right company decision based on values. If a company is solely focused on growth and profit and sets individual goals, versus group goals, this conflicts with the company’s “collaboration” value.
Sometimes It Takes An Objective Eye
Sometimes the management of a company has difficulty identifying deficiencies developing within a company. This is because problems rarely develop overnight. Usually, they develop gradually in such a way that employees and managers may not even realize what is happening to their company’s culture.
At Equal Parts Consulting, we seamlessly integrate with your staff and evaluate your current company culture. After an exhaustive review, we will make our recommendations and work with you to help your business achieve the results you want. Contact us to learn how we can help you develop and maintain a strong company culture.