Michael D. Moberly    March 26, 2014    ‘A long form blog where attention span really matters’!

A principled company culture…

It’s certainly not a stretch then, to infer that a principled company culture can also serve as a catalyst for internalizing and enhancing other factors noted in SHRM’s survey, i.e., employee engagement, retention, performance, and certainly, recruitment of new employees

Society for Human Resource Management Survey…

Readers of this blog recognize that a company’s culture and its management, in a growing number of instances facilitated by a ‘culture officer’ can become a strategically significant and value contributing intangible asset.  A 2012 survey commissioned by the Society for Human Resource Managers, i.e., SHRM asked 770 human resource leaders to identify significant workforce management and staffing challenges.  The challenges the survey respondents identified were…

  • company culture management
  • employee engagement
  • employee retention
  • effective performance management, and
  • employee recruitment.

Interestingly, full ninety percent of the survey respondents identified ‘company culture’ management as being (a.) important, or (b.) very important!  Standing alone, I, and I am confident others, find this revelation instructive in many ways, one is, it should prompt management teams to recognize that devoting time, energy, and some resources to developing and sustaining an effective and positive company culture will, under most circumstances, deliver impressive, measurable, and beneficially strategic returns each of which can contribute to a company’s value, sources of revenue, and sustainability.

Equally important, in my view, the SHRM survey findings give persuasive and definitive weight to the view that a well managed and positive company culture, whereby employees, management teams, c-suites, and boards collectively recognize, respect, and are committed to sustaining a principled base of intellectual, structural, and relationship capital and values (intangible assets) can, with little doubt, elevate a company’s overall performance.

Integral to (1.) recognizing, and (2.) accepting this view lies the economic fact that 80+% of most company’s value, sources of revenue, and strategic ‘building blocks’ for growth, profitability, and sustainability today either lie in or evolve directly from intangible assets, one of which, of course, is a positive and principled company culture!

It’s certainly not a stretch to infer then, that a positive and principled company culture can, and in all likelihood will serve as a catalyst for internalizing and enhancing other findings – revelations in this survey commissioned by SHRM, i.e., employee engagement, retention, performance, and certainly, and recruitment of new employees, etc.

How do management teams know their company is exhibiting a positive and principles culture…?

Based on the excellent work of Dr. Edgar Schein, a company culture consists of progressive stages, and will emerge and start to become observable to management teams in the following contexts, i.e., evidence that…

  • employees (collectively) recognize and begin to act on a shared system of values, norms, beliefs, and attitudes that defines and clarifies what is important to them and their employer.
  • employee’s at all levels recognize they learn as they are solving (company) problems and, if the problem solving methodologies work well enough, employees will consider them valid and worthy of being taught and passed along to new employees, because…
  • they represent the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to addressing (internal, external) problems that their company routinely faces, which, in turn, leads to greater efficiencies, competitive advantages, and reputational value, etc.  (Adapted by Michael D. Moberly from the work of Dr. Edgar Shein)

But first, the initial step that most companies must undertake insofar as developing a positive and principled company culture involves…

  • determining what attitudes and beliefs need to (should) be established, and
  • having a clear understanding how those attitudes and beliefs will be translated and ultimately operationalized by employees, preferably as consistent, positive, and principled behaviors that cascade throughout a company.

But, as aptly pointed out by Dr. Kenan Jarboe in his Athena Alliance monograph appropriately titled ‘Intangible Asset Monetization: The Promise and the Reality’, there are six factors considered by financial markets (i.e., asset buyers, sellers, and investors) with respect to determining the ‘suitability’ of an (intangible) asset.

Of those six factors, one is an assets’ transferability.  In other words, is a company’s culture transferrable?  Or is it so (company, business unit) specific/centric that it cannot be replicated or sustained through a market change, merger or acquisition, or significant economic downturn as is being experienced today?

Unfortunately, the contributory value of a principled company culture seldom, if ever, appears on management teams’ conventional mba oriented dashboards, in part, I believe, because those intellectual – managerial dashboards have not fully transitioned to the intangible (non-physical) assets side of a business or company, such as a company culture.

Too, for some management teams, c-suites, and boards, a principled company culture, remains somewhat of a managerial, financial, and competitive advantage mystery in terms of understanding how best to utilize – exploit this influential asset.

A much desired objective of course, is to build a resilient, self-perpetuating, and principled company culture that is readily scalable and supports development of intellectual, structural, and relationship capital.

But, building a positive  and principled (semi-permanent) company culture is not something which evolves solely in a top-down fashion, nor is it a characteristic owned and executed solely by a management team or c-suite as aptly noted by Jennifer King (Software Advice Blog, June 12, https://www.softwareadvice.com ). Instead, a well-grounded and principled company culture provides permanence, depth, and confidence among employees and their abilities and capabilities!

Reader comments and inquires are always welcome at 314-440-3593 (St. Louis) or [email protected]



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