Have you ever wondered what happened to the culture of our nation? I have pondered the changes in the United States, and I have marveled at the speed of these changes. I found much understanding from an article explaining culture and corporations.
Lou Gerstner writes about how the culture of our nation affects corporations in his article titled “The Culture Ate Our Corporate Reputation.” Gerstner is from the corporate world and could be prejudiced; however, my friend who spent his career in the corporate world confirms the truth of Gerstner’s words.
Gerstner reminds his readers that many CEOs blame the employees when something goes wrong and used a recent problem in the banking industry as an example. “This is not the first time I have seen corporate leaders blame a flaw in the `culture’ for major shortfalls in their company’s performance. I believe this represents a serious misunderstanding of how institutional culture is created and the role it plays in defining corporate behavior.”
After sharing various statements that corporations use such as “We work for our customers,” Gerstner states, “These statements are for the most part extraordinarily similar. But look inside these companies and you will learn that a common vocabulary does not lead to common behavior.
“What is critical to understand here is that people do not do what you expect but what you inspect. Culture is not a prime mover. Rather it is a derivative. It forms as a result of signals employees get from the corporate processes that structure their work priorities.
“Compensation is one of the most important of these processes. If the reward system pays a premium for one kind of behavior, that’s what will determine employee behavior – regardless of the words enshrined in the value statement….
“It is the cumulative effect of all of these processes: compensation, performance measurement, recognition, etc. that shape what we describe as corporate culture.
“So for any CEO who wants to understand the real cultural in his or her company: Do not look at the value statement in the new employee handbook. Go deep and understand what each process in the company is telling employees is important. Again, people do not do what you expect but what you inspect….”
I learned from Gerstner’s article that “culture” comes from the CEO level and does not come from a desire or written policy. Culture seems to come about by what the people see, what the CEO rewards, and who receives favorable treatment by the CEO.
The situation described by Gerstner can be seen in the world of dealing with children and teenagers. Wise parents and teenagers understand that they must reward good behavior and ignore bad behavior as much as possible. The behavior that gets attention is the behavior that continues. Sometimes, the behavior is so bad that it is difficult to find something to praise, but the reward of improved behavior comes when it is recognized.
Taking this lesson from the corporate world into the political world, we can assume that the “culture” in our nation comes from the CEO of the United States – even Barack Obama. What do we see him doing? What behavior does he reward? To whom does he give favorable treatment?
One glaring example is Hillary Clinton and all her scandals. Many people have served time in prison for doing less than Clinton has done with classified information. Another example is the “Black Lives Matter” movement and their destructive behavior. It seems that the Obama administration rewards lies and deceit, breaking laws, cheating, meanness, division, etc. We just have to remember that culture is a derivative of the CEO, and then we will know why the culture of our nation has sunk to such a low level.