Corporate Culture | 3 Questions a CEO Should Ask

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Great corporate culture can make the difference between a good company and a great company. The people factor is just as vital to the success of an organization as the technology/product and the funding/financials.

Here are three questions a CEO should ask regarding the effectiveness of their corporate culture:

  1. Does your corporate culture have a shared purpose and has it been effectively communicated? Purpose can take companies from nowhere to somewhere. Don’t just have purpose, live it! We recently conducted a search where the team members were not aware of the overall goals of the organization they work for. In asking questions of the team to find the key drivers and direction of the organization, we found that the team did not know where the company was headed, what the strategic plan was or the time frame that the company had to achieve the strategic goals. As a CEO one of your core responsibilities is to communicate the strategy, the road map, and the ultimate destination. How can anyone be on board with achieving a plan if they don’t even know what it is?
  1. Is your talent strategy tied to your business strategy? Your compensation plans should be tied to your performance goals in order to achieve maximum success. The compensation plans should be put into effect before you start recruiting not only for your executive positions but for all of your positions. A “put a package” together approach is not going to be a compelling conversation for future additions to your team especially at the executive level. Tie your business strategy and performance goals to your compensation plans. Know before you start recruiting for a key executive what your competitive position is with salary, bonus and equity. It should not be “when we find the right person we will devise the compensation plan”.
  1. Is your corporate culture resilient? Can your corporate culture do well in both good times and bad? The most enduring corporate cultures are the most resilient corporate cultures. The purpose of the organization is the glue that holds everyone together and should be at the forefront of all the executive team members mind and the organization as a whole. CEO’s need to stay connected to the people and ask how people are doing in the organization. If your CEO is too busy for his/her people, that is not the right message to send. How can a team feel valued and motivated to achieve a business plan, if the CEO rarely communicates to them.

To sum up, create a purpose, communicate it effectively, tie the purpose to your compensation plans and check in with your people all of the time. When times are good or tough, keep your organization’s purpose at the forefront and be unwavering in your quest to achieve it.