Many company leaders spend a lot of time developing a core culture. Some may do this in name only but authentic and serious organizations realize that a strong company identity is vitally important to the overall health of the business.
However, while some leaders spend a lot of time trying to flesh out the details of the culture, many leaders can overlook changes that happen within their establishment. This can be as harmful as not having a solid company culture to begin with.
The ultimate goal for most organizations is to experience success and growth. When this eventually happens, the company culture will most certainly change. These changes can be both positive and negative. Whatever the end result, change can cause disruption and stress to those involved.
While change cannot be avoided, there are ways to deal with an evolving company culture that can make the transition less jarring. Levi King, co-founder, and CEO of Nav write in Inc. magazine about the changes that happened within his own company as it expanded. He offers suggestions for leaders and employees who may be having a tough time dealing with such changes.
First, King suggests that companies avoid straying from their values. As organizations grow and more people and positions are added, it can get more difficult to retain the original values that were the core of your business. But forgetting these values will most certainly mean the demise of the company.
Leaders should emphasize their organization’s core values on a regular basis. Every employee – from top to bottom – should be made aware of what your company stands for. When hiring new employees, make your values clear to them and avoid bringing on people who do not align with your vision.
Another suggestion from King is to help those who are having a hard time accepting change. There may be people at the company who have been there from the beginning and are having difficulty seeing certain people move on to other organizations. These same people may also yearn for a time when things were simpler.
However, it is your job as a leader to encourage such employees to embrace the changes and tell them that the future of the company rests on accepting the changing dynamics that are inevitable. Change is difficult, but people can and must work together as a team.
“If you can accept culture as dynamic – a collection of individuals whose mission is unwavering but whose makeup may alter at any moment – you’ll go with the flow rather than resist it,” writes King. “In the long run, you’ll be more content and effective.”
Lastly, King compares growing companies to that of a child transitioning to adolescence. There will be many difficulties along the way and you may often pine for the simpler days, but growing up is inevitable. The only thing you can do is accept it and strive to be supportive.
The same is true for a company that is growing and evolving. It is up to the leader (or parent) to formulate creative ways to help everyone through the major changes. Ensuring that team members are focused, connected and committed to the core mission of the company will make for an easier transition through the growing pains.