Does Your Culture Clash?
I have been talking to a lot of people—printers mostly, but civilians too—who are experiencing challenges in their workplace. Infighting, sabotage, espionage and every other “_age” you can name.
It got me thinking. It’s bad enough that we have competition from all over the globe and the Internet, while clients squeeze us for every dime. What we DON’T talk about or acknowledge are the fights that we fight inside our own walls.
So here’s what I want to know: What is your culture like?
Below are some archetypical printshop cultures that I have witnessed firsthand. My intention is to get some feedback and solution ideas from all my “many” followers out there, and do a follow up piece on remedies for these very dangerous conditions...
FEAR FACTOR—There is usually an explosive leader hiding behind his/her office door. Everyone is afraid of him/her, and consequently, there is not much innovation or initiative being taken for fear of criticism or outright punishment. There are a lot of rules and processes to follow, which can be very good and helpful to keep things running smoothly. But, when they’re taken to extremes, can result in people being so afraid to make a mistake that very little beyond the bare minimum is getting done.
EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF—This kind of environment is often the result of many members of the team working remotely, or a shop where it is very difficult for people to relate to one another on a personal level. Perhaps no one has had a chance to find any common ground. Or maybe all the employees are just so different, which, then again, can be a good thing if collaboration and teamwork are encouraged. Otherwise, people just tend to feel very alone.
CYA—It stands for Cover Your A**, of course, and has some of the same characteristics of FEAR FACTOR, but there’s a lot more finger pointing. The concept of throwing someone under the bus is very common in a CYA environment. If people are punished, written up, or chastised for making honest mistakes, you will almost always find a CYA shop. That’s not to say that behaviors should not be corrected, but there is always a productive way to coach someone to help them understand what the company’s standards are.
If a person is well trained and well managed, mistakes generally are very low. But If you hear a lot of “That’s not my job.” or “It wasn’t my fault.” you could be working in a CYA shop.
CLIQUES GALOR—When people have worked together for a long time, it is natural for them to form very close attachments to one another. However, when those attachments exclude others, they really become more like high school cliques than friendships. And that type of an environment is NO FUN for the people on the outside.
If you notice that a group of employees has lunch together and never invites anyone else to join them, tends to shun new people, and generally sticks very close together, you’ve probably got cliques. Not good. Because there is no collaboration going on between the clique members and the rest of their colleagues. Nobody wins, least of all the company.
Have you ever worked in any of these environments? Do you have any remedies for how to make these situations better? Chime in! I myself have worked in ALL OF THEM, and I’m dying to find out what you have to say in the Comment section below.
Blogger, author, consultant, coach and all around evangelist for the graphic arts industry, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include sales and marketing coaching, enabling clients to find engagement strategies that work for them and mentoring the next generation of sales superstars.
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league. She is also the mother of two sets of twins under the age of ten, so she fears nothing.