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Culture Plus Environment

by Mark McDlanahan

The importance of company culture is a classic topic in a multitude of business books, articles, videos, podcast episodes, blog posts, tweets, etc. I did not originally intend to choose this topic for my column; however, I recently stumbled upon a way to enhance company culture that was not on my culture radar screen.

In the past, I focused my sights and energy on areas such as quality leadership, effective communication and employee engagement. In fact, most of the ways we measure the status of culture followed these areas.
So, what happened? Last week, we purchased 60 new chairs for our office, as the old chairs were well past their prime. My unexpected surprise was the overwhelmingly positive effect the new chairs had on the staff. Looking back, it seemed so obvious that the environment has a significant impact on company culture. Thank you, hindsight!

Here are three pieces of advice based on what I learned from this experience:
1) Look around your work environment and find things that don’t match your brand position, your core values, your mission and/or your vision. These should stand out readily and will contribute to a list of important needed improvements.

2) Don’t consider these improvements an expense. They are an investment in your employees. For most employees, the work environment consumes at least a third of their waking hours. You bet this has an impact on how employees feel about the company.

3) Use a small cross section of your staff to research options and make recommendations to improve the working environment. Avoid stacking this committee with managers. Those involved receive the satisfaction of participating in the decision-making process and eventually act as ambassadors to the employees affected by the committee’s work.
Some people say, “It’s the culture, stupid!” I add, “And don’t forget the environment!”

Mark McClanahan ( or 314.909.1800) is the president at Mosby Building Arts.
Submitted 5 years 62 days ago
Categories: categorySmall Business Sense
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