What is Corporate Culture?
Corporate culture is a system of beliefs, practices, values, symbols, and rituals that define an organization and, whether spoken or understood, determines the ways in which employers and employees think, feel, and act. In other words, corporate culture and its impact can be gauged by the ways in which the two domains reflect and reinforce one another. Having said this, haven’t we all at some point thought that there is a disconnect between individual goals and the overarching goals set by the organization? Haven’t we felt that our actions are not being adequately rewarded or that the organization doesn’t seem to be valuing its people anymore? These are instances of an unhealthy work culture and before fixing it, we must recognize what constitutes a good, strong corporate culture.
Elements that Go into the Making of a Good Corporate Culture
Benefits of a strong corporate culture are many, and while there can be many things that go into making of a good corporate culture; the following are the six most important components:
- History: Like people, organizations, too, have their own history, a unique story and this forms the backbone of a company’s work culture. Be it Steve Jobs’s single-minded dedication to master calligraphy, thereby resulting in Apple’s aesthetically oriented work culture or The Henry Ford museum in Michigan, it is important to nurture this narrative for it to be relevant.
- Architecture: A place, whether in terms of geography or design, shapes and influences behavior. Nowadays, there is a move towards making workplaces more fluid or open as opposed to closed, soundproof cabins so as to promote collaboration and team work. This is important for many reasons, the primary one being that a place impacts culture.
- People: Perhaps the most well-known yardstick, an organization is best distinguished its people who share its vision and values and contribute towards its growth.
- Vision: A great vision precedes a great culture. Like thoughts precede action, a vision gives direction and facilitates the movement towards its realization. The social service sector best exemplifies this. Often in the absence of architecture or a prolific history, several NGOs are motivated by their vision.
- Values: Values help realize vision and are at the core of an organization’s work culture. An organization may have a set of values, such as how well it is committed to achieving the best, how it treats its clients and employees, and this forms the crux of its work culture.
- Practices: The above-mentioned points mean nothing if they are not implemented and the ways in which an organization carries out its vision and values takes the form of practices.
However, there are times when we feel dissatisfied with our roles and don’t know why, or so we think. In many ways this is the problem. Our belief systems often hold us back from becoming who we want to be. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a science of human behaviour that believes we can change our perception, approach, and communication in order to overcome our fears and strengthen our mind and body.
What is NLP?
Created in the late 1970s, NLP is a combination of three fields, namely, neuro function—the way the five senses make meaning often through deleting, accentuating, filtering, or distorting, linguistics—post processing, the ways in which we perceive the world and how it reflects in the kind of language we use; this also comprises our internal and external dialogue, and programming—best understood as our internal landscapes or as ‘standard operating procedures’ that govern our everyday lives.
Corporate culture is essentially about communication and many a time, either due to miscommunication or inadequate communication, employees and/or the organization may feel dissatisfied and disassociated.
How Can NLP Help to Enhance Corporate Culture?
Among indicators such as frequent quarrels amongst employees, unhealthy competition, bad habits such as gossip, and dwindling team spirit, low attendance is by far the most significant indicator of poor corporate culture. Since our emotions have a direct impact on our body, a troubled mind will inevitably lead to a troubled body, thereby causing harm to the overall image of an organization. Nowadays, many organizations are taking an active interest in strengthening employee performance by holding NLP workshops with which techniques of facilitating change are taught. According to NLP, desirable behavior and qualities can be simulated in our day-to-day lives. For example, since leadership and better communication skills are inextricably linked with corporate life, these can not only be taught but also emulated. With NLP, high performance, ambition, and good decision-making skills, just to name a few, are no longer exclusive to the gifted. These are skills that can be understood and learnt by anybody.
If an employee is experiencing low self-esteem or is lacking in confidence, often expressed with phrases such as ‘… it’s too difficult’, ‘… there isn’t enough time’, or ‘… I can’t do it’, the management must take steps to ensure that the issue is resolved. As per NLP, situations like these can be dealt with a simple reprogramming exercise. In this exercise, the mind is trained to reimagine or visualize alternative responses to the challenge. For example, if a task needs to be completed urgently and there isn’t enough time, the mind, instead of panicking, is trained to imagine the task as needing only the given amount of time. The essence of NLP lies in the ways in which we use language and how words accompanied by our internal landscapes reinforce and influence our actions.
There are few amongst us who are impervious to the wear and tear of our demanding work life and our work culture is most vulnerable to the shifts in energy. If there is anxiety, it will immediately get reflected; if there is insecurity or not inadequate leadership, it will show. With NLP, organizations can systematically build, reinforce, and sustain a good and healthy work environment and motivate employees to give their best.
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