Do it for the Culture
BY NADIA PALACIOS
During the 1980’s Continental Airlines was considered the worst airline in the industry. Its own employees were not exactly excited to work there. Former chief executive of the company, Gordon Bethune, described the airline as “a crummy place to work” in his book, From Worst to First.
Employees were “surly to customers, surly to each other and ashamed of their company. And you can’t have a good product without people who like coming to work.”
As a business owner, working with the right people is essential in pushing the company forward. That may seem like a no brainer, of course anyone would look to work with the right people on board. Why, then, do some small businesses struggle with retention or with keeping a healthy workplace environment/culture?
According to Robert E. Quinn and Kim S. Cameron at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, there are four types of organizational culture: Clan, Adhocracy, Market, and Hierarchy.
While there is not necessarily a right or wrong culture to incorporate from these four, there is a culture out of the four that best fits your values and beliefs. According to Simon Sinek, that is all a company is, it is a culture, or “a group of people brought together around a common set of values and beliefs.”
What that means is that before even hiring someone, your business’ core values must be established, the mission statement has to be founded as a compass for business decisions. From there you can look to hire people who believe what you believe in, not just because they have a particular skill set.
Bethune was able to establish the belief of winning as a unit among Continental Airline employees. He created a Clan culture by removing the excess security that separated the executive suites from the rest of the company and establishing an open-door policy to his office. The employees suddenly felt that they were a part of a family and their performance improved drastically. Rather than having a “every man for himself” mentality, the employees all worked together for the benefit of themselves, each other and the company.
Be the billboard of your mission, the right people will come along and help you propel business forward.