Before the internet age, things were usually very system based ; when it came to starting a company or in recruiting, when a placement occurred, someone was interviewed and hired.
There was an employment contract and there were job descriptions and performance reviews so everyone knew where everyone stood. There was no worry about a culture – not even when entrepreneurs were successful in taking the brands they created, global.
Enter Google, Facebook and other tech giants who also bring along a culture that sets them apart in a class of their own.
It s no longer the job security of a life time job ; for entrepreneurs in tech and related services, it is good business. For anyone else who wants to follow their model, entrepreneurship is indeed a great act to start with.
But first, the culture. So in an environment when coffee machines and bean bags define a company culture, as an entrepreneur, what is your company culture and why should you worry about it?
Customers like the culture of the company they are hiring –
With the competition out there, the different services and different brands, it seems consumers look for more than what they can from a service or a product. It seems the culture of the company plays a role in becoming what the consumer expects of it.
Customers look for culture; signs of personality, character and happiness. They want to experience the culture of the company and become a part of its existence. They offer lifestyle opportunities and are able to convey powerful messages. Brands such as Nike, Google and Calvin Klein have created and sustained strong cultural messages that transcend geographical borders.
Technology drives a need to establish a culture –
As an entrepreneur, you have the opportunity to create a company culture on line ; how does your company respond to clients – what do they get when they click on your link? These are huge opportunities for you to develop a unique company culture for your brand or product.
The company culture has changed tremendously with the advance of the internet. Today, all it takes to make or break a product can be as easy as a message on social media. Traditional power structures have changed almost overnight – it is no longer only those who make the decisions in the boardrooms but also those who are doing the work out there. When they take pride and take ownership of what they are doing, they not only typically talk about it on their networks, social networks in particular and can be the best brand ambassadors.
Company culture can be made evident in command structures –
Experts believe that the traditional command and control structure is nearing its end. The younger generations of employees like to feel empowered, trusted and equipped to give more of themselves but of course under the right set of circumstances. It can be a culture you can create in your company – one that builds easy access, less command structures and greater engagement.
So how can you apply this kind of new thinking to running your business as an entrepreneur?
Questions arise because typically, many CEOs today come from a different generation – and wonder just how to get the culture right. Not everyone can aspire to a Steve Jobs and so, we must learn as we go along and try our best to build a brand, a company, a service that emerges as a unique culture of its own.
The definition of company culture – in academic terms –
Professor James Hunter Professor of Religion, Culture, and Social Theory at the University of Virginia, quoted in Forbes says that culture is manufactured out of four distinct characteristics. He believes that culture is a resource, and therefore a course of power, produced through the action of the network.
He further states that the propagation of what constitutes cultural values is a dynamic connection between those at the center of cultural development and those at its periphery.
Additionally, he says that culture becomes world-changing when the values of those who are the champions of change align with the values of the institutions they lead.
Company culture – in simpler terms –
Put in simpler terms, the culture becomes the company , the brand to its consumers and the people. It gives them a point of identification, one they can feel good about. As Professor Hunter puts it, a significant shift in attitude starts from the top and filters down to the bottom, resulting in the leadership within the organization, becoming key to creating the very culture on which the organization thrives.
Building a culture and sustaining it also may signal the end of the traditional top-down, command-and-control era. Experts believe that organizations now need greater information flow within and develop faster response time outside their organizations. After all, once a culture is developed, you must be able to deliver the promise bottoms up.