“We often look at the work of others like a menu offering with no prices. We think other people’s work is just a buffet we’ve already paid for.” -Wade Eyerly, CEO of Beacon Airline.
When businesses being to rapidly expand, with growing revenues and number of employees, the culture will sometimes inevitably shift from one that is value-based to one that is rule-based. To be fair, an environment in which there is a process and procedure for each step undoubtedly leads to efficiency and productivity.
And when businesses grow and need to maintain their success, transactions will have to happen more automatically, thus shifting employees method of operation from manual to an “autopilot” of sorts. They are strictly going through the motions to complete the task, often taking both their own skills and the skills of their fellow employees and coworkers for granted.
Operating a business with too strong of a rule-based hand can lead to a rigid company culture, while operating with too strong of a value-based hand can lead employees to become stagnant in their work.
The solution comes from CEO and management determining the optimal way to attain a rules-based cultures efficiency whilst still maintaining the flexibility and openness of a values-based culture. Openness, respect, gratitude, and creativity permeate the most successful of office cultures, and in order to create an environment which fosters these values requires leaders to perform a balancing act of sorts.
Some of the most successful businesses attribute their high levels of performance to their cultures adoption of transparency. Giving all employees access to information that will only enhance their performance, from basic contact information all the way up to the information CEOs present to the board of investors. The more knowledgeable they are about every facet of the company, the better equipped they are to contribute to the end goal: success.
While there are general “rules” of the office, there are rules on a more micro-level for each department. The way the CEOs operates on a daily basis is different from that of an entry-level employee or a mid-tier manager, so let the teams create their own rules. And even better, let them be subject to change, as a company is constantly changing. Not only will this show employees that those in higher-up positions trust them, but it will create an atmosphere of responsibility and adaptability, and not just workers mindlessly following orders from their managers. It helps employees to look at their jobs from a bigger picture, and helps to nurture and motivate creative, productive, and innovative employees.