Every great company requires a foundation, and the foundation of a company is its culture.

Every employee should say “It’s my company, so I want to drive the culture”. If you fail to shape the culture in your business, then society will do it for you.

However, just establishing culture, your foundation, is not enough because as your company grows – like a garden – you will get weeds coming up. If you don’t take care of the weeds, they will take over. Maintaining your company culture is a continual process.

Gradually many indicators come to the fore indicating that the ethics and culture of a company is slipping. Here are some of them:

Decline in civility

You walk into a store and people aren’t even nice anymore, so you must demand your people to be friendly because many people don’t think they need to be anymore.

Rise in entitlements

Nobody should be entitled to anything in the workplace. You earn it. It is either part of the position and you get it, but you are never entitled to it.

Successful people branded as scapegoats

Never scapegoat successful people. You should not care what their background was or where they came from, or what their education was. Their success didn’t just happen.

CEO is the architect

Your company culture is your foundation, and this is true for any company in any industry. The CEO must think about himself as an architect. How big you’re going to build your building, how many floors you’re going to put on your building, how much it can withstand? He wants to lay it onto a foundation, but it’s not ready. This is why every business owner must get their culture defined and activate it as soon as possible. It’s what great companies are built upon.

The place is a dump

Whenever you walk into an office, look along sightlines down the passages.  If you see boxes sitting in the aisles and chairs piled up in meeting rooms, know that no one cares about the place.

Only the leaders have offices

Bosses have offices, staff have cubicles. This usually indicates a hierarchical structure in which management and employees are at odds.

No one talks about culture

Companies should try to sell you on their culture. If the person interviewing you only wants to talk about your qualifications, ask yourself what she’s not telling you about the work environment.

Leadership demonstrates bad culture

Culture always flows from the top. You may not have a chance to meet executive management, but you will hear about them around the office. How do you react to this feedback over a period of time says much about the culture of the company.

It just seems weird

A happy workplace should hum. Some people should be up, moving around, and talking to one another. They should not seem bored or stressed. Take a look around, and ask yourself if the average person seems happy or not.

It’s five o’clock, and everyone is buried in work

Five o’clock gives you a great opportunity to see how a company manages the work-life balance. A few people working late are fine, but some should be heading home.

Several excellent articles on this important subject are available should you be interested:

The 4 Elements That Make Great Company Culture

A Simple Way to Get a Handle on a Company’s Culture

Culture Can Make or Break Strategy