On Descending Company Cultures and the Importance of a Healthy Organizational Culture

The goal of enhancing company culture should be at the heart of every organization. We often see a company's culture as its personality, and as a result, it really determines how the company operates. That culture, then, is essential to the success of the company as well as to its ability to grow within its market, sustain and increase its growth, handle competition well, and overcome obstacles and challenges. Company culture should never be neglected, and it should be cultivated on an ongoing basis. So how can this book help your company? Well that's simple: by showing you how you can enhance the culture of your own company.

You may be asking what this term Culture means and whether your company already has one. Well, the answer is yes, your company already has its own culture. In fact, every organization, from the smallest business to the largest corporation, has a culture. Culture refers to the values and attitudes of the employees within the business. Naturally, not all cultures are the same, and there are even different types of culture. In this book, we differentiate between cultures that are on the rise and those that are not--ascending company cultures and descending company cultures.

In descending company cultures, employees act as individuals and perform their duties to meet their own needs, such as a paycheck or health insurance. In these types of cultures, there is a high level of employee turnover; employees tend to have a lower morale and a lower level of engagement, and they struggle when it comes to teamwork and productivity. That in turn affects customer service and ultimately damages the sales and profitability of the company.

The Seven Characteristics of Descending Company Cultures

1. Decreased productivity
Descending company cultures are conflict saturated, which has a direct and devastating impact on productivity and the success of the company overall. How can employees focus on work and be at their peak performance if they go to work every day worried and preoccupied with the conflicts they are experiencing in the workplace? The answer is they can't. These conflicts hurt their focus, their time management, and definitely their ability to be at their best. So before they even begin work, this heated and disturbing workplace environment causes employees to produce a lot less than their capabilities and a lot less than their previous performance.

2. Decreased ability to handle competition
If there is one way to beat your opponents in an increasingly competitive market, it's by having teams and departments that are united and working at their best. When teams don't work well together, their work performance suffers, and as a result, the competition will have the upper hand. After all, they are busy producing rather than fighting and dealing with bad vibes.
It's important to remember that this is not something that might happen. It is just a question of time. If you have a descending company culture, competitors in an ascending company culture will always have the upper hand.

3. Decreased engagement
A descending company culture typically manifests itself pretty quickly through decreased employee engagement and a low level of motivation overall. Engagement is a key component to the company's productivity and success, and it typically relies on four key sources.
• Relationship with direct manager
• Relationship with team/department members
• Trust in management overall
• Pride in working for the company

4. Employee turnover
A conflict-saturated company culture is an unhealthy environment to work in, and so employee turnover tends to be high. Nobody likes to go to work every day having to deal with conflict, frustration, and anxiety. Often, then, this causes a company's best employees to seek other work options. After all, if you can work in a positive environment rather than a negative one, why wouldn't you? This often happens right under the radar of management and team leaders who may not be fully aware of just how much a descending company culture impacts the employee.

5. Unhealthy confrontation
Confrontation is not necessarily a negative thing, and it can often serve the purpose of productivity and success when handled respectfully and in a proactive manner. A healthy confrontation like this leads to a productive dialogue. It doesn't always happen like that, though, and problems occur when people hold grudges and experience anxious and negative feelings. When this happens, people may confront others in an unexpected, angry manner. This as an unhealthy confrontation, and it could lead to further anger and distance. In this sense, the confrontation doesn't promote the two sides' interests, collaboration, and teamwork, and this will ultimately have an effect on workplace productivity.

6. Low morale
Descending company cultures are characterized by low morale. Employees feel bad about themselves and about their environment, and they have an ongoing sense of being in an emotionally draining situation. The anger, sadness, sense of helplessness, anxiety, and frustration experienced in descending company cultures will directly impact the overall morale. As a result, salespeople will sell less, and producers will produce less. This is not because they mean to, of course, but because they are drained and upset. This is directly hurting company performance on various levels.

7. Increased frustration, anxiety, and depression
A descending company culture will also lead to increased frustration, anxiety, and some level of depression, depending on the severity of the situation and on the personalities of the people involved. Frustration tends to manifest itself as a result of employees' inability to do the things that are expected of them at the level that they want to do it. This might be because they can't collaborate (or at least, they can't collaborate well) with the person or persons with whom they have issues. This lack of collaboration could mean that the their rivals within the company won't share information with them in a timely manner or may not help them in the way that they should, and so, in the employees' perception at least, these "rivals" hinder their ability to perform their tasks and reach their goals in the way they would like to.

Anxiety typically stems from that frustration. Since tasks are not completed in the way that they should be and because goals are not reached, people start fearing for the security of their position one way or another. Employees in a descending company culture don't have confidence that teams members will work together toward joint goals, and they may feel other team members are weighing them down. Because of this, anxiety level

Ascending company cultures, on the other hand, give value to each employee in the organization. Of course these employees care about their own advancement as in descending cultures, but they also work as a team to meet the goals of the company and benefit its customers. Teamwork is important in these types of cultures, morale and engagement are high, and employee retention is good. Employees work as a team to increase sales, provide the best customer service, and advance the company's goals in any way possible.

So Where Do You Stand?

In reality, most companies are somewhere in the middle. Their teamwork is OK but could be improved. Engagement is acceptable but should be worked on, and so on. They are ascending in some ways and descending in others, and so company culture needs to be enhanced.
One thing that is important to remember, though, is that the enhancement of company culture is an ongoing process. Yes, the impact of challenges is cumulative and can be devastating in the long term, but once an ascending company culture is reached and maintained, the company can truly achieve new heights of growth and success.