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Organizational Health Begins with Your Company Culture

While I am truly aware of an increasing need for personal health and well-being programs in our business community, another equally important health issue is being ignored within our companies today.

So what am I talking about? I’m talking about the most misunderstood and under-utilized leadership focus of all time. The answer is: your company’s culture.

Yes, this is a leadership issue and it is very important if you desire to have a high performance organization.

So, why is culture a lower priority for most leaders?

During my thirty years of working with executives with large and small organizations, there are five reasons for this oversight.

The Five Reasons Culture is a Low Priority to Leaders:

1. Business School Oversight
Most business schools spend little time educating the new leaders upon the importance of culture, therefore, the new leaders have little preparation or logical reasons to spend any time or effort on this “people” thing.

2. Focus upon Numbers & Systems
Leaders have been conditioned to focus upon getting higher returns from two primary sources – increased revenues or lowered cost within their organizations. The lack of direct line association of high performance cultures and improving the results provides a lack of numerical metrics for the leader to see on their company dashboards. Yet, the culture of the organization can have a direct bearing upon the sustainability of the results.

3. Too Busy with Important Things
Here, the attitude of purely task-focused leaders feel it is a waste of time to deal with those pesky “people” issues. So they continue to establish processes, systems and goals without thinking about the impact or implications upon the their people. I have had very smart leaders tell me they have no time to focus upon people issues. The mindset used is “We Hire People to Do Their Job and Pay Them Well to Do It!” This mindset worked more in the past, yet today’s community-oriented staffs are talking about the culture and sharing their beliefs about leadership or lack of leadership on a daily basis.

4. Out of My Control
This one is the classic "it is not my job" belief! Well, as the leader – news flash – it is your job to create and nurture a high performance culture. If you don’t like this idea, you can think about your responsibility in your company’s reputation management. Yes, today reputation management is a critical leadership function. Research is showing the most talented individuals are checking the reputation and culture of the organization before even applying for a position. Talking with the new generation of talent, they want to work in high energy environments whereby they can use their passion to create new and innovative solutions. Setting the climate for a high performance culture is one of your major priorities in the 21st century workplace.

5. Don’t Know How
Now we get to the number one reason for leaders – they don’t know how to create a high performance culture. Based upon years of coaching executives and managers, this is the main reason for a lack of focus on the company culture. There is a belief structure stating “Culture just happens and I can’t do anything about it.” My response to these leaders has been consistent – it is your responsibility. While it is not easy and will take effort on your part, the payoff when done right is amazing. The energy within the organization is at high levels all day and things get done within the timelines expected. Therefore, if you don’t know how to create high performing cultures you need to focus upon learning what it takes. An experienced coach or business advisor can show you how in short order, if you are willing to listen and learn. Yes, you will need to unlearn some old habits and replace them with new ones to develop a high performing culture. This will position your company as a leader within the industry or community.

Another reason to focus upon culture is when engaged in mergers or acquisitions. Often the bean counters in the deal are only concerned with the financial aspects of the deal. This is a big mistake according to the evidence of success or failure of these deals.

Culture Determines Success or Failure of Mergers & Acquisitions
Failures of these mergers or just under performance relative to expectations, is often due to the mismatching of cultures. One culture is open, aggressive, innovative and risk takers; while the other culture is closed, conservative, hierarchical and risk averse. This is a natural failure setting up for the leaders of the organization. Yet, the numbers indicated a great combination for higher results. The highly talented individuals usually exit this type of situation after a few months, leaving only the old guard in place with the only chance of showing growth is to merge or acquire another company. Good luck with this strategy!

Successes are registered when additional due diligence is focused upon the cultures of both companies. Are they similar in high performance conditioning and expectations? Is there a system to place the BEST People in Control of Critical Positions? These transition questions and checks are necessary if you want to succeed in the merger or acquisition’s success.

It is always an excellent idea to get an outside objective voice involved in these transactions to ensure you will get the highest return on your investments. Find an experienced coach or Business Advisor who understands both the financial implications and the people – cultural – side of the business. Recently certified life coaches are not the right answer, you need a business executive who has been in these situations in the past.
Your author is Voss W Graham, an Organizational Architect Helping Business Leaders to Successfully Grow their Business Enterprise. Visit his site and look for Webinars on Growing Your Business. A Successful Entrepreneur for the past 32 years, providing Insights and Wisdom to Business Leaders.

Posted: 11/11/2015 4:51:53 PM | with 0 comments
Filed under: Big, Business, Company, Culture, Graham, Health, Ideas, Organizational, Small, Voss

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Your business may be small, but that doesn't mean that your impact can't be huge! The Greater Memphis Chamber's Small Business Council serves to encourage, support, recognize and be a resource to small- and medium-sized businesses in the Memphis area. Here, our talented panel of contributors will present big ideas that could make a huge difference to your small business. And don't be afraid to ask questions ... no matter how small.

Sales & Small Business Ownership
Voss W. Graham is CEO and Senior Business Advisor for InnerActive Consulting Group Inc. He is known by his clients as "a knowledgeable partner who helps our team achieve business growth." He provides practical experience as a small business owner for over 29 years, yet is often engaged with Fortune 500 companies in the development of their people and business strategies.

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Several professionals and strategists from the local Obsidian Public Relations firm provide excellent advice on everything from research to media relations to event planning. They believe that all companies, no matter how big or small the company or its budget, should have a public relations plan driving how they manage their relationships with key stakeholders. Public relations is an integral part of doing business the right way.

Human Resources
Joel Myers is a career Human Resources professional, with over 40 years in the field including 26 years in consulting.

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Design and Digital Strategy
Founded in 1999, inferno provides brand development, advertising, public relations, design and digital marketing services to clients across a broad spectrum of industries. Headquartered in Memphis with a satellite office in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the award-winning firm produces results-driven work by passionately combining strategic thinking, creativity and culture to ensure the success of its clients. For more information, visit

Labor & Employment Law
Fisher Phillips attorneys are ready to help you take a stand: in court, with employees and unions, or with competitors. Fisher Phillips has the experience and resolve to back you up. That's why some of the savviest employers come to the firm to handle their toughest labor and employment cases. The firm has 350 attorneys in 32 offices, including Memphis. For more information, visit

Since its founding in 2005, Paragon Bank has maintained a solid focus on the community and customer service. For more than 10 years, Paragon has delivered innovative products and financial expertise, convenience, and a deep understanding of what both businesses and individuals need from a ban, in order to provide solutions that make a difference. In the areas of business or personal banking, lending options or wealth management, Paragon delivers cutting edge technology, an experienced team and the most service-oriented staff of any community bank.