Why it’s important to get the company culture right
By Matt Joy, Princeton Mortgage Wholesale
I think it’s time we step away from the nitty gritty of our industry and take a deep breath. Let’s talk about something that is so important, but often overlooked… a company’s culture. Now, I won’t be able to quote from any books or pull some statistical data that helps prove my point… I’m just going to give you my opinion based on my personal experience. I’m going to explain why I believe that building culture (at any company) and sustaining that culture is the single most important thing you can do.
I’m sure in some ways we’ve all had that experience… where your CEO hosts a company wide meeting and lays out the vision of who WE are as a company but little do they know (I’m referring to the CEO keep up)… there is a storm brewing right outside of that meeting room. All it takes is for one person to leave that meeting and say to their colleagues “this will never work” or “she has NO idea what she’s talking about” and… boom the storm begins. These “storms” I’m talking about aren’t quick little bursts either… they are long lasting and can be incredibly devastating.
Let’s say that the person I referred to earlier (the one that said this will never work… no idea what she’s talking about) makes their comment to 3 other employees… 1 employee disagrees but keeps it to themselves and the other 2 just simply laugh and shake their heads (passive aggressive behavior… we don’t know how they feel). Uh oh… the low pressure meets with the high pressure (idk how storm systems work but I’m keeping with the analogy so hang in there with me) and the storm is now in full force. The problem here isn’t the disagreement. Not agreeing with someone is human nature and is not necessarily a bad thing. The problem is that this company (the fake one I’ve created in this scenario… I’m getting to my point now) has not created a culture in where the employees can raise their hand and say “nope… I ain’t buying it” or “I’m not on the same page… Ms. CEO you aren’t seeing what I’m seeing out there”. What’s wrong with that? Why are we so afraid of being candid and speaking to our CEO directly about what we think? It’s 2018 I’m pretty sure almost every company touts the “open door policy” now, but I’m also pretty sure that almost nobody really uses it. It’s because speaking your mind to someone is unnatural and extremely hard to do. You’re opening yourself up and in some instances, you might actually be wrong (gasp). You must have a certain level of humility heading into that conversation knowing that since your questioning someone’s beliefs… that your thoughts and opinions will be met with some resistance.
Therefore, a CEO is so important because if they aren’t fostering an environment where people can be safe expressing their candid opinions… they’ve made themselves the eye of the storm. If a CEO comes to an all hands meeting saying we’re going to be candid… we’re going to attack problems before they come up because we encourage radical candor at this company! Then when someone disagrees with anything… they aren’t available or don’t actually LISTEN to what an employee has to say (they do that thing where they’re typing or texting or maybe hit you with a “one sec” then a “sorry go ahead”) … your culture is going to be a nightmare. Because, it allows for and tolerates the person at the beginning to walk out of that meeting talking smack and not doing anything to back it up. As our CEO, Rich Weidel always says… rot starts at the top. Disagreements allow for growth.
Create a culture that encourages debate
Create a culture that does not hide from individual results
Create a culture that is radically candid and radically humble
Create a culture where motivated people can thrive
These are human conditions we’re talking about… not the X and O’s of the business, but so often we fail to realize that missing on the culture pretty much rips the guts out of your company (I fell off the storm analogy… but I think it works).
I’m proud to work for a company that might not have it right all of the time but is having these hard conversations and doing the uncomfortable things, the unnatural things to create a culture where motivated people can thrive. It’s powerful and it’s a lot of fun.
Talk to you soon!
The opinions expressed in this post are the sole view of the writer and do not reflect the opinion of Princeton Mortgage Corporation.
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