Culture and Performance

Most people in management seem to believe that culture matters in a company. I know some don’t, and I’ve worked for a few of those people, whichi s never an enjoyable experience. As the world seems to change to more and more knowledge work for people in technology, it seems that businesses are starting to realize that the way their employees feel about the company can have a direct impact on the company’s bottom line.

There’s an article about culture and motivation in the Harvard Business Review that I think does a good job of looking at how well people perform when they have various motivations. The authors talk about the six reasons why people work, each of which can drive motivation in a different way. Some are positive motivators, some are negative, and it’s good to be aware of the differences.

This ties into culture in that the way your organization is built. The culture that pervades the company can really determine how employees are motivated. More negative motivators result in less performance, especially creative performance, from employees.

I don’t think that building a great team and getting the most from people is necessarily this simple. Different people respond differently to a culture, and the same person might even respond differently at different times in their employment. However I do think that you can look to adjust the way you fit each employee in, with the work you assign, the support you give, and the demands that you make on them.

The mark of a good manager is that they find ways to treat each employee differently, in a way that suits them best, while maintaining a core set of values and rules for the entire organization.

Steve Jones

The Voice of the DBA Podcast

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About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
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2 Responses to Culture and Performance

  1. papynormand says:

    Steeve , thank you for this so right post. But , more often than not , the manager has to obey to the company culture which is defined by people who don’t matter about the employees work. Worst , if a project has been defined in a bad way , the upper managers reject the fault on the lower managers and their employees. In France , we have an amusing expression “Le chef a toujours raison et quand vous quittez son bureau , vous devez adhérer à ses ordres sans discuster” ( badly translated in English “The manager cannot be wrong and when you leave his room you must accept his decisions without any discussion” ). Too often , your immediate manager is in the same uncomfortable position.


    • way0utwest says:

      That’s true, and there might not be much you can do. I was hoping to present this and reach some managers, or have them reach to their managers and executives to try and get them to change how they define and promote culture.

      If they realize they can achieve more profit or growth with better culture, maybe they’ll change.


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