Scandal, Mistrust and Declining Team Culture
We are witness to a massive shift in the business landscape. Once characterized by an impenetrable culture of fear and compliance, the walls that surrounded the entertainment and mass media industry, as well as the careers and reputations of some of its most prominent leaders, are crumbling under allegations of sexual harassment. Unfortunately, this type of toxic culture and the allegations of inappropriate behavior it breeds is not limited to the media. Dozens of high-power individuals in public office and industries ranging from tech to finance have stepped down or been removed from their positions as allegations become public.
Bad News, Worse Reactions
Many organizations reacted to these inauspicious exits by promoting ill-prepared executives into high-profile leadership positions. These individuals, who previously enjoyed relative anonymity, now find themselves squarely in the spotlight and tasked with overhauling company culture and righting the ship while maintaining full steam ahead. Leadership development, talent management and human resource leaders responsible for risk management are running “fire drill” sensitivity training to mitigate future risk.
Replacing a CEO or mandating sexual harassment seminars may be effective for putting out a PR fire after a scandal or protecting your company from liability. However, they don’t address the long-term risk that toxic culture creates.
Public scandal deters top talent from joining your organization. There is heavy competition for skilled and niche players in today’s market. These individuals are searching for companies that provide a culture of support, trust and communication. After all, why would a candidate who is in high-demand subject themselves to a culture of fear, uncertainty and doubt? They wouldn’t.
Without top talent, an organization can’t achieve sustainable success. And without building and maintaining a strong, positive company culture, you are unlikely to attract top talent.
Culture Starts at The Top
An effective company culture begins with its top executives and resonates throughout the entire organization. Leaders determine what an organization values, and set the tone for what is and is not acceptable behavior. But creating a culture of transparency, trust and accountability can’t be done by executive mandate. Organizations must have in place structures that ensure every manager and employee is committed to creating a positive and effective culture.
The best starting point to understand employee sentiment is a 360º assessment. If you “already know” what your peers and employees would say, I challenge you to see if you are right. The value of confidential and anonymous feedback from people who work around you can be eye opening.
Future-Proofing the Leadership Pipeline
Healthy corporations future-proof their leadership talent development pipeline with strategies and tools that address every possible “what if” scenario. They rely on coaching and leadership development approaches that are dynamic, context driven and evidence-based. They not only prepare individuals for greater levels of responsibility, they insure that the individuals in whom they are investing embody the values and organizational culture they want to promote.
With the diverse range of approaches, qualifications and results, how do you ensure your coaching investment provides the results you require? Try approaching executive coaching, leadership development and organizational effectiveness in a way that maximizes business impact and look for a systematic, structured method to create sustained behavioral change. Outcomes such as increased profitability, reduced turnover and fewer complaints will measure effectiveness. Finally, to drive performance and sustained behavioral and cultural change, the combination of a senior executive coach and evidence-based methodology, along with technology to see, track and manage all coaching engagements is necessary for the continued success of whichever approach you choose.