From The Rock

Can you mend a broken corporate culture?

By | September 20, 2018

The blog post originally appeared on the Greater Memphis Chamber’s website. View the original post here.

It’s hard to notice a relationship is in decline while you’re in it. Whether a friendship or a relationship with a significant other, you’ve likely experienced a personal relationship that’s fizzled. It’s like a glass of water, slowly cracking and leaking. What was once a small drip turns into a stream, and eventually, the glass shatters and you’re left with nothing.

In a lot of ways, a broken corporate culture is like a bad relationship. What used to be fun is now a chore, resentment is harbored, things are said out of annoyance or anger, and the negativity spirals until someone walks out.

And just like in a relationship, as a business owner who wears many hats, you may not notice the slow (or even rapid) decline in your culture until you’ve lost three employees and you’re struggling to connect with the people you’ve retained.

When you’ve reached critical mass, is there anything that can be done? Can the culture be fixed or is it a lost cause? The answer to that question is yes, but as a business owner, that’s not the right question. Corporate culture can always be fixed. Are you willing to make it happen? That’s the better question.

There’s a path toward redemption. While you may never be able to mend bridges burned, you can chart a new road forward toward a positive, healthy corporate culture. Here’s how to start.

Can you recognize lapses in your corporate culture?

If you’re not diligently working to prevent cultural failures, you’re likely already in a bad spot.

When it all boils down, the elements that make up your corporate culture should be designed to positively impact the sentiment your employees harbor toward you and your business. Sentiment is fragile, and a rogue email or ill-prepared reprimand can chip away at positive sentiment. Can you tell when your team is out of steam or frustrated?

Can you identify the source?

Being able to tell if your team is frustrated and why they’re frustrated are two different things. If you can’t identify what the root of the problem is, you’ll have a hard time making applicable changes.

As a business owner, this may require introspection. You very well could be the source of contention.

Can you commit yourself to make costly changes?

Making an impactful change can cost you time and money. But if you’re committed, you could reap the benefits in the form of employee retention and customer satisfaction.

The question isn’t “can you fix a corporate culture?” Because you absolutely can. Are you willing to make the sacrifices necessary to change your business culture? That’s up to you.

Stick around. In our next two blog posts, we’ll discuss why correcting corporate culture isn’t a quick fix and steps you can take to make big strides toward a positive, healthy culture.


This blog post is part one of a three part blog series. To learn more about the topic of corporate culture, sign up to attend the Chamber’s September Lunch in the Know. Obsidian’s senior account manager, Whitney Albert, will discuss all things corporate culture and provide impactful action items for small business owners and leaders. We hope to see you there!

Click here to learn more about blog contributor Obsidian Public Relations.