7 Worrying Symptoms of a Weak Organisational Culture

Make the changes that can strengthen your corporate culture and inspire your team to grow.

Organizational Culture - the 7 Worrying Symptoms

7 Worrying Symptoms of a Weak Organisational Culture

Take action to address the worrying signals of an unhealthy organisational culture and make the changes that keep people happy at work. Whether you're involved in the decision making process or just really passionate about helping your colleagues develop, you should keep an eye on the following signals.

1. Your company doesn't respond well to change

Organisational changes, volatile markets, customers with changing demands? Can your company handle all of these? Any macro-level transition can be hard on your organisation, but planning changes ahead and helping teams moving through these phases are key factors for success.

If your management team makes abrupt changes in the organisational structure and people in your team feel unsure about their future in the firm, it's quite a powerful signal that your corporate culture is not strong enough to deal with change. Disruptive innovation can move businesses forward, so not being able to take a leap of faith (responsibly so) in your business area means that you get less access to new opportunities. Business resizing, mergers, acquisitions are important milestones in your organisation's history that are forseeable and can be planned for appropriately. Other changes, however, take initiative from the team, as well as prepared managers.

Change management training is often a professional development aspect targeted at senior professionals and executives. However, there are numerous training programmes that cover this aspect from a group dynamics perspective, helping everyone in the team see change as an opportunity and not as a threat.

2. You’re not receiving enough professional development support

It's been a while since you joined your team and not much has changed in your work responsibilities. Are you receiving enough training that allows you to specialise and be more competitive? If you feel you're lacking skills to do your job well or feel ineffective at completing the projects you were assigned, it's time for your employer to invest in your professional development. It's certainly the time for you to assess your strengths, passions and what keeps you motivated at work.

In any industry and job role, professional development helps staff to stay on top of the industry changes and inspires them to grow on a personal level, thus helping the business as a whole develop. In the UK, as well as internationally, there are numerous support initiatives and campaigns that support learning in the workplace. It doesn't need to be a major investement from your employer. Short open courses or tailored in-house training solutions are often the best investment you can make for the team as a whole. Individual coaching sessions have been proven effective in helping individuals develop in their role, increase motivation and provide them with a career path.

3. You get bad vibes from your team

It's hard to boil down your take-away points at the end of a planning meeting, and you feel you're not quite comfortable with someone else's humour. If it's hard to reach agreement with your team or communicate your needs to the upper management level, it's yet another sign that your corporate culture doesn't fit your individual needs. This time, it might not have to do with the organisational structure as a whole, but with how teams are built and how you personally embrace your role in the team. Is there enough diversity of opinion in your team? Are you and your colleagues good at listening to each other? How easy is it for you to build a plan together and follow through?

If the vibes are not quite what you expect from a group that you spend eight hours or more a day with, it's a sign that your organisational culture, and your team's in particular, are not quite ready to accommodate diversity. More specifically, it misses that something that ties personalities, work styles and visions together. The good thing about not thinking alike is that you can work together to design even more competitive products, that account for differences in your audience. As different personalities you can have different understandings of the market you operate in and this can predict and prevent any bad responses you may get from your stakeholders. Professional training or even team building activities can help your team develop together as a group and support individual differences in the long run. Go team!

4. You don't pride yourselves in your work ethic

Seen from the outside, your motivation at work is reflected by how eagerly you embrace your daily routines at work and the enthusiasm you live and breathe around the office. If going the extra mile is not something that characterises you or your team, it's a warning that your organisational culture is not entirely built on commitment. It can be the case that everyone works to meet their individual goals, but that not everyone is equally committed when it comes to the greater good or the long-term future of the company. If day-to-day slacking is still a challenge, there's definitely room for improvement in the work ethic department.

Even if you've met your goals for the month, or received your bonus, there might be room for something extra that could make you or your team truly shine. Besides putting in extra work hours or helping with projects outside your work description, you can also take initiative when it comes to improving your team or organisation overall. Proposing new projects, coaching new colleagues and generally being a bit of an innovator can add long term value to your team.

The weakness of this type of culture may surface in times of change, but you can prevent these types of challenges, with a healthy recruitment and selection policy and a coaching culture to support your business goals.

5. Innovation is not your strongest point

If your competitors are miles ahead in terms of innovation and you're lagging behind in providing your customers with up-to-date services or products, innovation is definitely a challenge for you. Organisations may define innovation differently, from being tech-savvy to being a visionary in terms of business development. All the steps in between are milestones in shaping a competitive organisation driven by innovation. Most business leaders have learnt that innovation is a mindset that can can be instilled in every member of their teams, starting from outside-the-box thinking to taking action to achieve ambitious goals.

A good starting point to address this challenge is to look at your digital marketing strategy. Are you 'out there'? Are your platforms ready to meet stakeholders' expectations? If your website looks like taken from the 90s and you have a hard time presenting your projects. You can find out how innovative your business is here, and start taking the action that make a difference.

6. Your organisational processes are overcomplicated

If you have a hard time following your organisation's hierarchy and experience a complicated decision making process, your organisation is challenged by its own processes.There's no rule of thumb to say how much is too much in terms of internal processes and hierarchy, but the goal should be that everyone should be able to focus on the end goal of their work and find internal processes only enabling for their work routine. Whether is the ineffective project management platform  the team uses to track their work, or the bureaucracy you need to go through to get new project initiatives approved, there are many barriers that can hinder productivity and enthusiasm in your workplace.

An effective process that helps you follow your goals and reduce waste can help your organisational culture stay strong. You'll be prepared for new visions, new co-workers and new projects that can keep you ahead of your competitors. Today there's a more visible trend among large organisations to adopt processes that can improve their business agility, and they do so by using Lean and Six Sigma tools. Reducing standard deviation and delivering the optimal product with the optimal use of resources makes the Six Sigma certification programmes the preferred management approach among today's competitive business thinkers.

7. You're not challenged enough in your role

You feel that you have enough experience in your position and would have something to share for new entrants in this position. You've become a role model and you're respected in the company for all the good reasons. Good job! But you can be a more valued player in an environment where your expertise is unique and thus valued to a whole new level. You can decide to leave the organisational culture that makes you follow and take the lead in a new organisational environment that supports your career ambitions. 

However, if you're committed to your current team, but know that more co-workers feel they're not challenged enough, it could be a sign that your team doesn't offer clear career paths and development opportunities. It takes a dedicated career coach within your HR department and skilled people managers to observe individual strengths and weaknesses and outline a career paths for those who have unique knowledge and skills that could help the organisation as a whole.

Now that you're able to recognise some of the worrying symptoms of a weak organisational culture, you can take actions with a visible impact on your organisation's culture and internal policies. Following Findcourses.co.uk's training recommendations, you can help build a healthy organisational culture that supports your personal ambitions and helps the team exceed their business goals. Make your time at work more enjoyable, your career more rewarding, your company more successful with the right organisational development training.

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