As a Leader: Never Compromise Your Core Values
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When we in Gugin facilitate cultural transformations at companies around the world we also have to prepare the leaders of these companies for a new reality. A new reality that is much more real than the one they are coming from. And most of them feel very relieved despite the potential loss of status, influence and money they might be losing.
The reason why we are asked to facilitate a cultural transformation for a company is usually because the company is unattractive to new employees, new clients or investors, or because more people than usually are leaving the company.
The main reasons for people leaving a company are when they feel their integrity compromised, there is an unfairness in the culture or the culture of the company feels toxic for employees and managers.
The most depressed leaders are most often working in companies who have a high status in the public opinion - a status that is very different from the reality the employees and managers are experiencing. That gap between the reputation and the reality has a number of very negative consequences.
• Employees and managers/leaders in particular feel that their integrity is compromised
If for instance the company is promoting itself as having the best customer service but all employees and managers know they only care about squeezing as much money out of the customers as possible, they will feel their integrity compromised. Employees and managers will have to lie to customers, friends, family and others about how the working conditions really are. When you do that over a longer period of time you start feeling really bad. Some manage to leave, but for many it is not an option because they might lose status, an attractive salary etc.
• Expectations from the culture
When your corporate culture is far from the image you want to have of yourself new hires will leave shortly after they are hired out of disappointments. This is extremely costly for any company if it is unable to retain new hires.
• You can’t use your corporate culture as an asset, simply because it is not real.
Your corporate culture is the glue in your organisation. It is the thing that make people work towards a common goal despite all their differences. If you try to fake or even worse - don’t care, people will only stay as long as they have no better place to go.
As a leader you can never succeed in an organisation where there is a big gap between the real corporate culture and the image the company is capable of producing to the public. That is because your most important leadership tool is your personality. Unless you have some mental disorders people around you will feel, hear and see that you are not genuine when you represent the company, its products or its people. You will try for a period of time knowing you will be paying a very high personal price. That is the reason for that so many leaders feel relieved when we uncover the reality start changing the culture and the image the public has of the company.
They can finally tell the truth. When the transformation is over and we have a more transparent organisation with small gab between the culture we feel we have in the company and the perception the public has employees, managers and leaders are much more relaxed and confident in what they are doing. They don’t have to lie to anyone and new hires will stay because they don’t feel cheated on. People will stay because they are on the same page as the company when it comes to values. They will even work for less because we human being value communities we share values with very high.