3 Warning Signs Your Culture Needs Attention

If you were asked whether fast growth or steady growth was better, which would you choose? Most people assume fast growth is better because the faster you grow the more money the business makes, right?

Ah, no.

In fact, research shows businesses that opt for sustained growth over time hit their long-term financial targets sooner than companies that have high spikes in growth.

Over the past few years, we’ve often seen small to medium businesses go for massive growth, achieve it, and then enter a plateau or sometimes even go backwards. In a nutshell, it’s because the people driving that growth just can’t keep up that go-fast pace – without the culture to continue to support it.

The ability of your business to keep up consistent growth comes down to the question – what kind of culture is being promoted and demonstrated in your workplace? Is it an aggressive culture where people are out for themselves? Is it a passive culture where people put organisational goals above their own needs? Or is it a constructive culture where people are steadily proactive and sustainably achieving results?

At Tactician we help businesses to develop constructive (or blue) cultures that support people growth AND business growth in a sustainable way for the win-win. When your culture is humming, so is your business.

If you’re not sure which category your business falls into, here are 3 warning signs your culture needs some attention. 

1. Peak and trough performance

You’ll likely notice that when your team is on, they are ON. When there’s a deadline to meet, a KPI to achieve or bonuses on the horizon, your team is onboard and going the extra mile. But once they’ve hit the target, they enter a ‘recovery phase’ where motivation is low, productivity is patchy and it’s harder to get things done. This can reflect a passive or aggressive style culture, which often results in dissatisfaction, resentment and ultimately staff burn and churn.

2. Micro-managing

High standards and attention to detail are important at work because you want people to cross their Ts and dot their Is. But when that crosses over into a need for perfection it can lead to micro-management and an ‘it’s my way or the highway’ approach. If you’ve noticed a manager or one of your team members placing excessive demands on themselves and others and showing frustration and impatience when it’s not done in the way they expect, you’ve probably got a perfectionism issue on your hands. High levels of perfectionism in an organisation can make people feel like what they do is never good enough and there’s no room for creativity or innovation. It also suffocates your culture and prevents business growth, so this is definitely a warning sign to act on fast.

3. Lack of confident decision-making

Whether a manager or a team member, this can show up in a number of ways. It can be:

  • Going along with someone’s plan and not voicing your thoughts and opinions on it
  • Not disagreeing with something because you want to avoid conflict and not rock the boat
  • Waiting for others to make decisions rather than taking ownership so that you can play it safe and minimise risk
  • A focus on being liked rather than being a leader, which can look like people pleasing or going above and beyond in the pursuit for validation.

A lack of confident decision making is a sign of a passive culture. When this is widespread, it erodes trust across every level of the organisation and silos people because it can feel like it’s everyone out for themselves. What you ultimately want, and the sign of a constructive culture, is for people to be comfortable with the decisions they make and be OK if people don’t like what they decide!

If you’ve read these warning signs and have a sinking feeling about your organisational culture, it’s OK, because all of these can be turned around.

Whenever we’re supporting businesses to create a constructive culture we work on three things – awareness, acceptance and action. 

  1. Awareness of the behaviours someone is engaging in, which we facilitate through our LSI 360 diagnostic tools.
  2. Acceptance of what is uncovered through individual coaching. Some people discover behaviours they weren’t aware of or don’t necessarily like, so it can take support for them to integrate this new awareness.
  3. Action to make positive change toward a constructive culture at all levels – individual, team and organisation.

And although organisational change can take from 18 months to 3 years, individual change can happen fast. So if you’re reading this and feel fired up to get change underway, then just like Michael Jackson sang, start with “The Man in the Mirror”.

And if you’d like our help to make that cultural change happen even faster, get in touch and we can let you know the different ways we can help.

Email us at enquiries@tactician.net.au or call us on 1300 110 165.

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