Business Leaders

Only one thing is universal about company culture: You can’t delegate it or outsource it or forget about it. It’s the responsibility of the CEO.

That’s according to Paul Speigleman in a recent article in Inc . He’s the former CEO of BerylHealth and was a guest on my weekly internet radio program The Business Edge.  

What is Company Culture?
Some see it as the extent to which employees are engaged in their work. Others view it as how well the company has defined–and employees live according to–core values. Yet others describe it as the feeling you get when you walk through the front door and into the lobby. Maybe it’s a combination of all of those things. Either way, all three definitions (and any others) are a direct reflection of the organization and its leadership.

Company Culture Is About Authenticity
Paul goes on to say, “I originally thought that shifting culture-building responsibility to existing employees at BerylHealth, which I founded, would get those programs done. But I soon realized that those employees needed ongoing cultural direction from me and I had to participate in the culture we were creating, not simply behave as a bystander.”

In other words, if you don’t commit to and communicate regularly about your culture initiatives and implement traditions yourself, your employees will think you are insincere at least and hypocritical at most. In either case your credibility as a leader goes way down.

To that end, he states that he has dressed up in crazy outfits, made funny videos, attended community service events, espoused the importance of core values, and written thousands of personal notecards to recognize milestones in the lives of my employees.

This isn’t to say that employees can’t lead and execute on your culture programs and initiatives. However, you, as the leader, have to set the vision and give them permission to use their creativity to do the culture-building things they are passionate about.

Smart Moves Tip:

As a leader, you can and should delegate most of your company’s day-to-day operational work to those who have the talent to do it. But you can’t abstain from your responsibility to create the culture that drives your company’s potential success. Remember, as the leader, your company culture is only as valuable as your personal role in it.

Marcia Zidle, the smart moves executive coach and speaker, is host of The Business Edge on the VoiceAmerica Business Network. The show features the Smart Growth System providing small to medium sized businesses the proper foundation for expansion: a Growth Agenda that becomes their roadmap, a Growth Engine that attracts and engages the best talent and Growth Leaders that make it happen. Marcia, the CEO of Leaders At All Levels, brings street smarts to help businesses get on the right track and not get sidetracked on their path to higher performance and profitability.