Forming Corporate Culture

Article excerpt

From the day in 1980 that I became chief operating officer of Tipton to the day we sold the company in 1987, we had increasing profits every quarter. The corporate culture was one that required outstanding focus and work effort. Fifty- to 60-hour work weeks were common for the executives, but the work effort was far less than required by many other companies.

This kind of bottom-line performance resulted in a lot of our executives becoming rich by most standards. I remember reading an article by the president of a similar company who said that 80-hour weeks were the norm for his people.

At Tipton, however, we tried to develop a corporate culture that encouraged a balance between business commitment and family commitments. This is not to say that there were never times that executives worked 80-hour weeks. There were also times that certain executives worked throughout the night in order to get important tasks done on time. But the norm encouraged a culture of balance. Our corporate culture recognized that businesses need profits to survive, and increasing profits mean rich rewards for employees and investors. Without financial success, a business is not doing what its supposed to be doing. But success as a business isn't measured only by financial measurements in the kind of culture I prefer. Nurturing family members and raising children are other additional measurements, and ones which are likely to reduce financial results. The key is to find a balance. We also encouraged physical fitness and healthy lifestyle habits. I prefer a corporate culture that defines success in business as a combination of needed financial results and the formation of relationships with other employees in a supportive and nurturing manner. Decide what kind of people you will enjoy spending your working hours. Another key issue in developing your corporate culture is how closely you tie compensation to profit and loss performance. One business owner I know has a policy where no manager, even top executives, has a high guaranteed base. They are richly rewarded if the company is very profitable, especially in relationship to the manager's role in bringing about the profit. …