5 Things That Can Ruin Organizational Culture

As the market gets more competitive and economic climate, more uncertain, organizations tend to shift their focus to optimization and while that is imperative, the lack of focus on company culture can lead to long, irreversible damage. Culture continues to be a big buzzword in boardrooms; however, organizations assume that culture will get created on its own and will also sustain itself. Yes, culture is a result of a collective vision but it needs the effort to build and nurture and that part, unfortunately, is often ignored.

We are in the middle of a major generational shift and with millennials coming into the workforce, culture is the key ingredient for organizations to raise their game. In this blog, I will talk about some of the deal breakers that come in the way of building a great company culture.


Let me start by saying that the concept of the bureaucracy itself is not a bad one. It is meant to create efficient administration systems in large complex organizations. It’s mutated evolution over the last few decades has led to bureaucracy becoming the number one roadblock for culture. It’s no surprise that Infamous terms like “passing the buck” and “paper pushing” have originated from bureaucratic cultures. The business environment today calls for a culture that thrives on collaboration, agile decision making and collective accountability, something that bureaucracy cannot enable effectively.

Lack of Transparency

The thread that binds management with employees across the rung is transparency. Be it vision, company performance or crucial business decisions, organizations need to ensure that there are open channels of communication to provide information to employees and receive feedback. Leaders often get too caught up in fighting fires or are just trying to keep up with the pace of change, ignoring the importance of consistent two-way communication with the teams. The recent reports of turmoil and the backlash at Uber is an example of how internal company culture can affect the company’s fortunes.

Read: Organization Culture – Stepping stone to Project Success

Lack of empathy

Companies are just buildings and furniture without the people. People form the fabric of the organizations and bring the vision to life. Organizations need to create a culture that enables empathetic leadership. One of the fallacies of fast scaling organizations is that they tend to start looking at people as expendable resources. Things are good when they are good, but in tough times, everything goes south very quickly. Recent incidents in the Indian IT industry demonstrate a clear lack of empathy in dealing with employees. I believe organizations should make Empathy a non-negotiable criterion for leadership roles.

Read: Three Traits of Leadership that cannot be taught

Choice of people

If people maketh the organizations, then you better choose wisely. Candidates go through multiple interview rounds for technical skills and role fit but their fit for organizational culture is often sidelined. They might be high-performance employees, but they somehow don’t align with the vision and culture and eventually become liabilities. Companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook weigh culture fit very highly and ensure they go through extensive scrutiny before the selection is made.

Read: The human side of project management

Adoption of processes and tools

We are right in the eye of a digital revolution; technology is driving a massive shift in the workplace and in the way organizations engage with customers. There is a big push for a connected enterprise, data-driven decision making, and improved efficiencies through automation. Those who miss the bus here are facing inevitable extinction. Adoption and compliance are two most critical issues when it comes to investment in processes and tools. Without culture, employees don’t see value in adoption and its impact on company objectives. Procuring and implementing expensive tools and resorting to tops-down cascading of processes are not enough anymore. Leaders need to wake up to the call for transformation and make changes accordingly.

Read: Project Management = People + Tools + Culture

When I thought about writing this blog the initial title was “X ways of building a great culture”. Then I thought to myself; there are many ways of creating a great culture but probably fewer ways of ruining it. So I went with the antagonists first. Watch out for the follow-up blogs which will talk about how to build a culture of digital transformation.

Author: Ravindra Wankar, Co-Founder at Celoxis

Ravindra Wankar - Co-Founder, Celoxis Technologies

About Celoxis:

Celoxis is an enterprise class project management and PPM tool that helps companies streamline management of projects, timesheets, expenses and business processes, specific to their organization. Over the last decade, Celoxis has specialized in delivering improved collaboration and increased efficiency for Enterprises globally, across Industry verticals. To know more visit www.celoxis.com 

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