Updated: Nov 17, 2022
In my experience, these are the worst culture killers for any organisation, in any industry, in any country.
1. A leader who lacks humility
Long story short - if you’re on a board and you have a CEO who lacks humility… watch out.
If you work in middle management, as an employee or as a member of exec with a CEO who lacks humility, get out.
2. A poor hiring process
I recently said to a leader of a school in a country outside of Australia, “Stop and think about how much pain these people have cause you, so far.”
There’s nothing more corrosive to culture than the wrong people. Getting this right starts with a thorough hiring process.
Look wide, lead with values and go with multiple team members’ gut feelings to work out who to add to the team.
3. Dysfunctional leadership team or board
Leadership teams and boards can be dysfunctional without looking toxic.
Primary examples: a leadership team or board that doesn’t meet often enough, team members who don’t realise their leadership team should be their no. 1 team, a board that doesn’t understand the concept of ‘noses in, fingers out’, a leadership team that doesn’t communicate clearly and in alignment to the people on their teams.
One thing I’d add is the importance of the next level of team. Healthy board? 👍🏻 Healthy leadership team? 👍🏻 Healthy next level of teams? ❌
This next level of teams is hard work because exec team members need to stay as no. 1 team with the exec and then build a healthy team with their people working hard to align them together, to feed down top priority, values, important communications and feed up the sort of feedback that you only learn closer to the ground.
How’s your organisation going with these three culture killers?
Does your leader lack humility? (… and do you lack humility?)
Do you have a poor hiring process?
Do you have a dysfunctional leadership team or board?
If you answered yes to any of these three questions, stop everything else you’re doing to address culture and address THIS first.