Influencing Company Culture by Building Self-Understanding

By now, the world knows the story of the dot-com CEO who fired 900 employees on a Zoom call. There’s no arguing this was a decidedly bad business move, and owners and leaders of businesses of all sizes need to understand why.

The CEO in question is Vishal Garg of online mortgage originator, and his infamous Zoom call wasn’t the first time he displayed bad leadership. This article from Inc. by Jason Aten explains that Garg had a history of criticizing employees, accusing them of stealing, and even calling them “dumb, slow dolphins” in a company-wide email.

One result of this behavior was a toxic culture infecting the company, but Aten makes another salient point:

“Often, no one is willing to tell a leader in that position that they’re wrong. In this case, that problem appears to be made worse by the fact that Garg’s response to any kind of challenge is to lash out. Eventually, people start to avoid any kind of confrontation, even on really important issues. It’s just not worth it if you know you’re going to get attacked.”

Ultimately, Aten says, “culture flows out of the integrity and character of the person at the top.” The biggest takeaway from this story is, sooner or later, company culture will take on both the good and bad behaviors of the leaders and owners.

Do your employees see you pilfering through the supply closet and taking home items? They’ll start to believe it’s ok for them to steal from you as well. If your team sees you slacking or taking more time off than you should be, your employees’ productivity will suffer too. When you are disrespectful to your staff, vendors, or clients, your team will also decide to be argumentative and hostile.

So how can you avoid these missteps in your own business? Avoid creating a bad company culture and perpetuating poor behavior and leverage tools that allow you to understand better yourself and your leadership style and how it translates into building a culture enabling everyone to thrive.

This is where owners and leaders can reap the benefit of behavioral surveys in hiring as well as ongoing management of people. We recommend TTI Success Insights, but there’s no shortage of methodologies you can use within your business structure and processes. One of the tools TTI uses is the DISC method for gauging behavioral styles:

“DISC is an assessment that measures four separate factors: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance. Put simply: the DISC assessment measures how a person does what they do. The DISC profile creates a language around observable behavior, which in turn improves communication, engagement, and self-development.”

These surveys, along with other tools such as EQ (emotional intelligence), help match employees to their ideal job roles, giving them the tools they need to thrive professionally and personally.

The vast majority of people who end up losing their jobs don’t do so because they’re incapable of getting the work done. The real reason is they have trouble getting along with others. Behavioral training could save any number of those jobs, but only if business owners take the time to consider the benefits.

This training paves the way for individuals to better understand themselves – from owner and manager to every employee – while also highlighting the necessary changes. They can better understand how to adapt their behavior to the people around them, which leads to improved communication and better culture overall.

When you achieve personal insight with DISC, you not only better understand and appreciate your particular style of behavior, but you can also more effectively adapt your style for communicating with others. Style flexibility is the process of learning to treat others the way they prefer. At The Alexander Group, we can provide every resource needed to help you achieve this, both for yourself and any employees you designate for training. These include assessments in online and paper formats, books and tutorials, and even PowerPoint presentations to ensure that no details get overlooked or misinterpreted.

At The Alexander Group, we pride ourselves on helping people successfully achieve their visions, both for their own lives and their businesses. To learn more about behavioral training and how it can help your employees work better together or make you a better owner, don’t hesitate to contact us online today!