What does your company’s culture say about you?

The culture you experience at work tends to be a reflection of the values of the company’s leader.

Many years ago I worked for a company that were sub contractors to another company and they were paid a “commission” based on the number and value of sales made. The CEO of our company had one specific goal, sell as much as you could. The quality of the orders was largely immaterial as was the service provided to our customers. The reputation we “enjoyed” in the Market place was that of a ruthless company that used the hard sell and was very much a hire and fire organisation.

You can find similar scenarios when you look at the world of sport, where the teams are often a reflection of the manager/coach managing the team, with one of the most obvious examples being Jose Mourhino.

Jose is a very successful manager and his aim is to win, often at all costs. Ottmar Hitzfeld however recently described him as “arrogant, unapproachable and somewhat loutish”. Similar labels have been applied to the Chelsea team he managed to various trophies.

His interviews in the press are all designed to put pressure on the opposition, the officials and the authorities and take the focus away from his players. He practises a form of gamesmanship in these situations and these techniques are carried onto the pitch by his players.

From Porto to Real Madrid his players have been accused of diving, trying to intimidate referees and being aggressive with the opposition. At the same time all his teams have a strong desire to win, an expectation of success and a obvious sesnse of teamwork. The bitterness displayed by Real Madrid in their recent games with Barcelona, with calls for Barcelona players to be banned, videos on the Madrid website showing Barcelona players “diving” and various other ungentlemanly actions have not really been demonstrated by Madrid in the past, not until Jose arrived anyway… The type of football has also changed with a more defensive and cautious approach favoured by Mourhino.

It is no coincidence that the attributes of his teams reflect those displayed by Jose. It is a similar story with other teams, with Manchester United  built in the image of Alex Ferguson; a winning mentality, a never say die attitude, a lack of respect for authority and bad losers.

Liverpool, with essentially the same players, have been a completely different team under Kenny Dalglish than they were under Roy Hodgson. They haven’t become more skillful in the last 4 months they have just found their self belief and confidence in each other. Listen to the players talk and the common thread is about Dalglish putting the fun back into “work”. Expectations of them are different with the Manager focussing on the positives rather than emphasing what could go wrong if they don’t fulfill their roles and responsibilities correctly. Before Hodgson left the problem was scoring goals, to date Liverpool under Dalglish have scored in every game. Coincidence? No.

Your team, your company, your business is a reflection of how you act, what you believe and how you treat others.

What do they look like now, and what would you like them to look like?

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