Tag Archives: Company Core Values and Culture

Losing Faith In Company Culture – How Google Lost Its Way

Google was once the beacon for how a company should operate. Thoughts of Google’s culture often included things like innovation, risk-taking, and a fun, people-oriented place to work. Today, however, long-time employees are losing faith in the company, believing that Google has lost its soul with exponential growth. According to Steven Yegge, a former Google employee of over 13 years, “The main reason I left Google is that they can no longer innovate. They’ve pretty much lost that ability.” He continues, explaining that “gate-keeping and risk-aversion at Google are the norm rather than the exception.”

Of course, risk-aversion isn’t something Google has intentionally sought to create. It’s just part of the problem of growing too quickly and forgetting your core ethos – something we regularly cover here at Culture-Strategy Fit. Growth makes it easy to let the attributes that made your culture special fade and things like risk-aversion slowly take hold.

“A Destructive Culture”

Of course, Google’s cultural issues run much deeper than merely failing to innovate. Google employees across the globe have staged walkouts following a New York Times report detailing millions of dollars paid to male executives over the years as a result of allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment. To make matters worse, the company has been anything but forthcoming about the issue. This is in direct conflict with the company’s founding motto of “don’t do evil.”

Despite apologies by CEO Sundar Pichai and founder Larry Page, the company’s 94,000 employees are becoming increasingly frustrated – and downright fed up – with the corporate culture at the internet giant, feeling too much hush money has been shelled out to silence employees. “We’ve waited for leadership to fix these problems but have come to this conclusion: no one is going to do it for us. So, we are here, standing together, protecting and supporting each other,” wrote several of the organizers in an essay published in New York magazine. “We demand an end to the sexual harassment, discrimination, and the systemic racism that fuel this destructive culture.”

The High Cost Of A Damaged Brand

In losing its way and allowing a culture to emerge that is adrift from its mission and core values, leaders have significantly damaged their personal credibility and Google’s brand.  The cost is very high. It is a good bet that top talent is already looking elsewhere for employment opportunities. Attracting new talent becomes more difficult as people question whether this is the type of place they want to work and brand they want to be associated with. Similarly, with options to choose from, Google risks customers spending their money elsewhere rather than support a toxic culture. Then there is the market. Risk aversion, lack of innovation, hush money and leaders with low credibility do nothing to build investor confidence.

What Can Be Done?

With the recent firings and public apology, Google has taken the first steps toward rehabilitating its image both internally and externally. But this is only the beginning of what needs to happen. According to many disgruntled employees, instead of focusing on customers, Google has become too competitor focused. Combined with a toxic political culture, this lack of focus has suffocated the all-powerful tech-giant from its humble beginnings.

The company needs to decide what it stands for and critically examine all facets of its business model and operations. It needs to identify and eliminate everything that is preventing it from fulfilling its purpose and living its values. This means confronting widely accepted ways of working and making some tough decisions about people, process, structure and so on to ensure Google’s culture thrives and with it the company succeeds today and into the future.

If You Need Help Developing or Sustaining a Winning Culture, We’re Here to Help

The current issues at Google perfectly represent what can happen to any company if it loses focus on its purpose and core values. It’s something that should cause every business leader to pause and check to see if their corporate culture remains true to core values during periods of growth or personnel change.

Maintaining corporate culture can seem like a daunting task, especially during periods of growth, but it doesn’t have to be. Culture has a high capacity to help businesses achieve genuinely great things. If you need help defining or improving your business’s culture, check out some of Culture-Strategy Fit’s excellent cultural products and services, or give us a call today at (800) 976-1660 for a free consultation.

Dr. Nancie Evans

Dr. Nancie Evans is co-founder and VP Client Solutions at Culture-Strategy Fit Inc. specializing in the alignment of organizational culture and strategy. She has developed a unique set of leading-edge diagnostic tools and approaches that provide leaders with deep insights into the culture of their organizations, how it is supporting or getting in the way of strategy execution, as well as the levers that they can use to drive rapid culture change.

Culture-Strategy Fit®

Culture-Strategy Fit Inc. is a leading culture and executive leadership consulting firm conducting groundbreaking work in leveraging culture to drive strategy and performance. It’s suite of culture surveys and culture alignment tools are used by market-leading organizations around the world.

Contact Us

www.culturestrategyfit.com

1.800.976.1660
nancie@culturestrategyfit.com

From Innovation to Stagnation: Has Apple Forgotten Its Core Values

company core values

Once a leader in technological advancement, it seems today that Apple is in a corporate downturn. Where innovation was once rampant, now it seems to have turned to stagnation. What has caused this change in conditions for the industry-giant? Has Apple forgotten its core values?

Apple’s Woes

Apple used to be the brand associated most with industry-leading products supported by excellent customer service. But, as lawsuits have mounted over the intentional slowing of older-model iPhones without first informing customers, the reality that Apple may have turned its back on its clients has finally started to hit home for many. As Forbes Magazine online pointed out earlier this year:

“Perhaps this shift from technology enabling great usability to gimmicky features that risk diminishing it aptly illustrates Apple’s turnaround from purpose-driven innovator to a garden-variety big-name corporate lacking vision and losing touch with customers. Its recent decision to shift all of Tim Cook’s travel to a private jet kind of affirms that notion.”

From Design to Decline

For a company that was formerly the pinnacle of minimalist design-aesthetics and fun, simple-to-use electronics, today Apple seems like a lumbering giant, unable to innovate in the same way it once did. From the colorful iMac to the iPod and iPhones which brought to life Steve Jobs’ vision of ‘creating products that change the world’ and revolutionized how we live our lives, Apple now rolls out a larger screen, or a slightly updated, but clunky interface update.

It’s not only a decline in imagination which has hurt Apple. For years, people trusted in Apple because it offered stability and security. Sure, other phones and computers existed, but they lacked the ease of use and reliability of a Mac. Now, however, Apple’s products are ruined by the briefest hint of moisture – and repairs are frustratingly expensive. On the other hand, other makers offer easier-to-use and much-less restrictive platforms for a fraction of the cost.

Can Apple’s Culture Be Revived?

importance of company core values

Competitors have begun emulating Apple’s success and former inspiration – and are using it against the tech giant. Can Apple recover its mojo? Or is it slowly lumbering towards an inevitable downfall?

Steve Jobs was a huge loss for the company for a number of reasons, not least of which was his vision and ability to motivate and inspire those around him to achieve great things. Equally important, to support them on their quest, he molded the organization…everything it did and the way things were done…to help them succeed.

Jobs cannot be replaced but there is nothing stopping Apple’s leaders from following in his footsteps and intentionally creating the culture the company needs to succeed today and in the future. This begins with a vision and core values that are inspiring and authentic…something leaders genuinely believe in and are passionately committed to. A rallying cry for everyone at Apple.

This new culture may actually be old and refocus on what made Apple the company that changed the world. If this is the case, the first step may well be for Apple to re-engage with their devoted customer base deeply connecting with users to understand how to make their lives better. The second is to re-engage with employees inspiring and motivating them to create something special. The third is to take a good look at all of the different organizational ‘stuff’ affecting the way people work…policies, procedures, rules, structures and so on….and clean house. In other words, get rid of the stuff that is getting in the way of fulfilling the company’s vision and purpose. Make it easy to be great again!

Ensuring your company’s culture survives the upheaval of leadership changes and key personnel departures is critical. Apple has struggled since the death of Steve Jobs. Maintaining a culture through growth and change is never easy, but it’s something every company should plan rigorously for.  In fact, it’s something we like to cover regularly on our blog.

Looking for Help with Your Company’s Culture?

Maintaining corporate culture can seem like a daunting task, especially during periods of growth, but it doesn’t have to be. Culture has a high capacity to help businesses achieve genuinely great things. If you need help defining or improving your business’s culture, check out some of Culture-Strategy Fit’s excellent cultural products and services, or give us a call today at (800) 976-1660 for a free consultation.

Dr. Nancie Evans

Dr. Nancie Evans is co-founder and VP Client Solutions at Culture-Strategy Fit Inc. specializing in the alignment of organizational culture and strategy. She has developed a unique set of leading-edge diagnostic tools and approaches that provide leaders with deep insights into the culture of their organizations, how it is supporting or getting in the way of strategy execution, as well as the levers that they can use to drive rapid culture change.

Culture-Strategy Fit®

Culture-Strategy Fit Inc. is a leading culture and executive leadership consulting firm conducting groundbreaking work in leveraging culture to drive strategy and performance. It’s suite of culture surveys and culture alignment tools are used by market-leading organizations around the world.

Contact Us

www.culturestrategyfit.com

1.800.976.1660
nancie@culturestrategyfit.com