Company culture is often its biggest issue

"we Value Clarity At This Company. So, In The Spirit Of Transparency..."
"we Value Clarity At This Company. So, In The Spirit Of Transparency..."
“We value clarity at this company. So, in the spirit of transparency…”

One of the things that I have learned both as a consultant and employee is that company culture is often used as an excuse to make terrible decisions.

For example, I once worked at a company that had a perfectly serviceable and modern IT documentation system. Some employees convinced a VP that they needed and that’s when the trouble started. Now instead of being one place for documentation, there were two. I have used and like it, but when you start adding applications to what people can use, you increase the confusion and complexity of how people deal with information. It became a constant struggle of where the documentation was.

One of the strengths of a company like Microsoft/Google is that they offer an all-in-one approach. All of their tools work with all of their other tools. So for most companies that unique synergy offers tremendous value. Now I am not too crazy about Google, and I am becoming less fond of Microsoft, but they still offer a value that most small businesses are hard to ignore. Yet those same small businesses that don’t have an IT person will bring on a non-name application and then try to integrate it with what they have. Most of the time it just doesn’t make sense. The time it takes to develop that and connect that and then train their employees on that just doesn’t pay off. People have a hard enough time with standard tools, and when you give them non-standard ones they struggle even more.

To me, a culture that tries to make things safe, reliable, and affordable is the one that survives. It is nice if you can make it easy for the end user, but ultimately you need to value security as much as ease of use. Too often companies make things easy to use and have no security. It is just a matter of time before they get hacked. The sad fact that 60% of small companies go out of business after being hacked just shows how crucial security is.

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Now not to beat a dead horse, but the culture of a company should be evolving and changing to meet the needs of the market. When a company has a static set of values, it isn’t adapting to the market. I have worked at companies that had value statements that didn’t match at all how their company culture was. When I asked my manager or HR, I was told this was the company culture and to love it or leave it. Ok then. When culture is used as a weapon, instead of as an inspiration you are probably at the wrong place.