Back in the the days of skinny ties and cigarette breaks, corporations were used to the idea of a "dictatorial management structure"; one where you had a big boss, who surrounded himself with lots of slightly smaller big bosses, who ran the company. Known by many as the "old boys club", this group would have full say over whatever happened in the company. Employees were supposed to worship the ground they walked on and the coffee mugs they sipped from, and fear their collective ability to hire or fire whomever they wanted. But today's modern business is much more social, and today's employees are more dynamic and innovative than their 1950's counterparts ever were. So why then, are so many of today's companies lead by corporate big-wigs who still believe that employees have no direct effect on the company's success?
Culture - an overused buzzword typically spouted off by large companies as a way of garnering a sense of teamwork and cooperation in an organization. It is meant to be a word that gathers people together, like one big happy family; sharing, helping, all towards a common goal. Culture is a way of thinking, a mindset that says "hey, we're all in this together" (cue the guitars and lyrics to Kumbaya). But the grim reality is that today's employees are all too familiar with the tongue-in-cheek tactics that companies use to get employees be "part of the team". Workers today want real action and real change. They understand that they bring so much to the table that they want to be seen and heard, rather than become "part of the herd".
Workers today are smarter, more flexible, more thoughtful and more creative. Corporations need to leverage these traits, not cover them up with mindless surveys and questionnaires. A smart company will actively seek out talent within it's own doors, and more that talent where it has the most impact. The days of taking a random employee and plugging them into a position are long gone, and so should the mentality be.
Don't be shocked when you look around and see the culture in your company desperately trying to evolve. Chances are, it's you or one of your cohorts who is actually stifling evolution in your organization. See culture for what is really is - a calling card that invites your organization to allow its employees to do great things, to be their best, and to generate real momentum that drives any company towards success. These are not buzzwords - they are your company's path to success.
Today's employees deserve real culture, not some $10 banner taped up onto a cafeteria wall that pretends to generate culture.
The days of the dictatorial management style are gone - along with the skinny ties and the cigarette breaks.
Meet the 21st century company, and embrace evolution.
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