The Journal Gazette
Sunday, January 19, 2020 1:00 am

Corporate culture hard to improve

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

Corporate culture can affect financial performance, but some executives aren't heavily invested on improving their workplace atmosphere.

That assessment comes from Eagle Hill Consulting, based on a small survey of 56 C-suite leaders. The firm, with offices in the Boston, Seattle and Washington, D.C., areas, said 72% of executives surveyed agreed or strongly agree that corporate culture affects finances. Fewer than two out of three, though, cited improving it as a top strategic priority.

Corporate culture is an increasingly important component of competitiveness in today's rapidly changing business environment, Eagle Hill said.

“Business strategy and goals identify what a company wants to achieve. Culture identifies how they will achieve it,” Eagle Hill said in a report. “In today's world, it is easy to replicate 'the what.' It is difficult – if not impossible – to replicate 'the how.'”

The report, included in a December news release, said 75% of executives surveyed say they agree that their corporate culture is one top reason why people join their company. But only 46% agreed or strongly agreed that the company holds employees accountable for company culture. Another 38% said they somewhat disagree or somewhat agree regarding the accountability. Only 60% said they agree or strongly agree that organizational policies and procedures do not always align to organizational culture and just 56% say their organization have clearly defined the attributes of their corporate culture.

The report says, in part, describes traditional corporate culture as vague, secondary to short-term financial goals and not viewed as central to day-to-day work.

In contrast, culture that drives performance is clearly defined, prioritized above short-term financial solutions and integrated into daily team interactions.

The survey was conducted online between March and June last year. Respondents included executives from various industries and also employed by companies on lists such as Fortune's Fastest Growing Companies and Forbes' Fastest Growing Tech Companies.

Leadership speakers

Kristi Cortezano-Smith emailed just over a week ago to say plans for a new leadership conference Feb. 1 in Auburn are inspiring.

As Lead On announced Jan. 9 online, the “Entrepreneurs, Leaders, and Legends Conference” at Kruse Plaza is designed to help business owners, church leaders, corporate teams, community leaders, and emerging entrepreneurs find renewed focus in their vision for 2020.

The speaker lineup includes nationally, regionally, and locally recognized names, including former NFL quarterback Heath Shuler, Indiana state Rep. Christy Stutzman, and businessman John Kruse, managing director of Kruse Plaza.

Others scheduled are leadership expert and trainer Luke Kuepfer; Do You Speak Bride CEO Wendy Rivera; son of Zig Ziglar and CEO Tom Ziglar; and WOWO Radio's Pat Miller. 

Cortezano-Smith, who indicated she plans to attend, is community development coordinator at Fort Financial Credit Union. She's intentional about leadership development, saying she “bought into” the leadership organization of Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady more than 10 years ago.

It has allowed her access to some personal coaching from them and other leadership materials and forums connected to the two authors who co-founded LIFE Leadership.

“They would be an amazing duo to have come speak again in Fort Wayne,” Cortezano-Smith through email. “I love leadership and the opportunities for self-development,” she said.

Her favorite Brady quote is “When the going gets tough, people look for a leader.”

Her favorite Woodward quote is “When the going gets tough, the tough get going. You either hate losing enough to change, or you hate changing enough to lose.”

Thanks for sharing, Kristi.

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at Lead On also appears online as a blog at

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