The first step to identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your company’s culture is identifying the leaderships’ persona in the workplace. This does not necessarily mean the same as identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the leadership, but rather how employees perceive the leadership overall. Culture always trickles down from the actions of the leaders. Once you identify the leadership persona, you can start to identify the strengths and weaknesses in your company’s culture.
As a leader in your organization, you can begin to identify your leadership persona by becoming reflective. When you walk around your organization or communicate with your employees, what are your actions telling them? This is not to say you need to be more relaxed, but rather are you practicing the culture you want in your organization. If you want employees to be productive and collaborative, what are you doing to show them you are also doing this? When you notice yourself spending too much time chatting or being unproductive or unwilling to collaborate, know that your employees notice and will take heed.
Weaknesses in company culture are easier to spot than strengths, especially by people who have been around for a long time. Becoming more aware of what is being said and done within your organization is an easy way to identify the weaknesses. Some common company weaknesses, according to Tony Robbins, are “Weak, fragmented company culture, lack of product differentiation, low efficiency and high waste, poor customer service, unregulated and unplanned growth, slower to market than competitors, rigid structure that reduces agility, no diversification, [and] leadership limitations such as lack of self-awareness.” Many of these weaknesses, such as lack of product differentiation, low efficiency and high waste, and slower to market than competitors can be seen with data. However, some of these weaknesses can be seen by an outside perspective.
Putting yourself in the shoes of your customers or clients is a great way to identify weaknesses. Whether this means you start thinking like a customer, or you actually get customer testimonials and feedback, you will be able to identify weaknesses from their perspective. The perspective of your customers and target market is arguably the most important.
The strengths in your company may be more difficult to identify because typically strengths are expected rather than celebrated. The reason you want to identify strengths is because they may be underutilized, and therefore affecting the company culture. The first place you can look for strengths, outside of leadership, will be in your talented employees. Consider whether their talents are being used to the biggest potential and to grow your company. If they are, they should be celebrated, but if they are not, that needs to be fixed. Talented people like being challenged and used for their talents. If they are not, they become complacent and cause problems for everyone else on the team.
There are always going to be areas of growth for company culture. It is hard to define and even harder to improve, but it is not impossible. Starting with leadership and working down the line to employees and customers is the way to identify strengths and weaknesses and start to develop the culture you want for your organization.
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