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Culture isn’t just for the odd gesture at Christmas. Culture is for the life and lifeblood of your organisation
It was way back in 1978 that the National Canine Defence League created their famous slogan that a dog is for life, not just for Christmas. The message was designed to discourage people from buying children a cute dog for Christmas that was then abandoned when the appeal wore off in the new year. It was an emotive and visceral appeal to look to the long-term rather than the short-term.
When I look at how organisations behave at Christmas I can see some parallels. You have the frantic scramble to get things done before the end of the year, whether it’s taking stock of your year or trying to get last-minute sales in. Even if you’re not the kind of retail environment whereby Christmas is a focus for your year, it can still seem an incredibly manic time of year.
You also tend to get a groundswell of goodwill at Christmas, whether it’s through the ubiquitous Christmas party, or your boss becoming slightly less Scrooge like. I’ve seen leaders grant employees time off for present shopping, or to take in their child’s nativity play. Even the stoniest of workplaces can take on a festive hue.
Culture is for life
I don’t want to come over all Scrooge like myself, and indeed these gestures are certainly more welcome than the alternative of doing nothing would be. I do argue however that if it’s worth doing these kind of things at Christmas, it’s worth doing them all of the year round.
So, how about you try some things this Christmas that you can carry on throughout the year? Here are a few ideas that I’ve found particularly effective in the organisations I’ve worked with.
When your employees understand that you genuinely care about them and want to share the strategy and values of the organisation with them then all of a sudden great things start to happen. And when the culture which underpins that strategy and values is one of innovation allied to delivering great customer service and employee engagement then not only do your employees engage with the company, your customers and your investors are also drawn into the mix.
Okay, maybe refreshing your organisation’s culture may take conscious effort and hard work and maybe it is easier just to make the odd gesture or send a few people on a course and move on. But unless you make the effort you won’t reap the rewards, unless you work on culture change then your only reward will be disengaged employees, low productivity, a failing reputation and the melting away of customers and investors.
Culture isn’t just for the odd gesture at Christmas. Culture is for the life and lifeblood of your organisation. So perhaps it’s time you gave your business a Christmas present and put culture change high on the New Year priority list.