People in countries, organizations and companies tend to behave in similar ways. The term culture has come to represent this idea: the way people think, behave or work. The culture of a company can have a major effect on the value—in terms of products and services—that a company provides to its customers.
A recent Gallup study analyzed data from more than 30,000 employees in various industries to determine what characteristics led to companies creating a high-performance culture that improves top- and bottom-line business metrics. The analysis revealed six crucial components on which companies should focus:
- Implement an effective performance management process
- Create empowerment and authority
- Increase leadership capabilities at all levels of the company
- Develop a customer-centric strategy
- Increase communication and collaboration
- Enhance training and development.
Another recent article discusses specific steps you can take to re-shape your company and free your innovation culture. It wisely points out the difference (and value) between ‘guardrails’—clear parameters designed for everyone’s safety vs. ‘handcuffs’—which prevent independent action. The author details seven best practices for transforming employees into smart risk taker:
- Define smart vs. stupid risks
- Set an acceptable failure rate
- Encourage experimentation
- Use pilot testing
- Empower through trust
- Choreograph collaboration, then step away
- Celebrate smart risk-taking.
What is the culture of your company? Does it inspire the best energy, actions and activity from its employees? Creating the right culture will pay huge dividends. Look for ways you can incorporate these characteristics of high performance and innovative cultures into your organization.
The Product Management Perspective: The products your company sells influence the company culture. It’s not so much about what the product does, or that it’s cool, futuristic or forward-looking. The biggest influence comes from how well your product serves its market, and how your customers feel about/react to the product. If customers have no passion for your products, the result is a negative effect on your culture. If they are thrilled about your products and talk to friends in their industry about their benefits, your company’s culture (and its bottom line) will profit. As the product manager you can make a major impact for your company’s culture by leading the way in creating successful products.