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CULTURE – Honesty bank helps mitigate risk

A company culture of honesty is important in everyday activity, but also builds a “bank of trust” based on repeated good deeds that helps you get through crisis with clients and families.   Having a culture of honesty and integrity needs to be  nourished and continuously expanded.    Sometimes you have to make hard decisions based around your culture, e.g. you should never lie to win a job or overcharge someone for work.

Some tips for getting it right:

  1. Be Honest and Forthright.    Tackle issues head-on and accept responsibility for mistakes.
  2. Show Integrity.  Always do what you say you will do.
  3. Be Generous.   Be generous with your time.   Give gifts.
  4. Have Gratitude.  Always show appreciation to clients, suppliers, cleaners, neighbors, barrista and families.   Give gifts.
  5. Communicate regularly
    1. Put your best foot forward with clients  to grow by word-of-mouth
    2. Always give heads up to trends affecting your clients
    3. Have regular mailings and/or meetings and contact points with clients, especially new projects or transitional periods
    4. Always follow-up to ensure issues are solved and proactively look/ask for issues before clients report them
  6. Service Nature in sales and support.  Helpful and Customer Service –
    1. Your team should  love solving client problems.
    2. Be Innovative in products, services and support
    3. Smile when you talk to others, especially on the phone

Examples of Crisis Management – Using culture to get through tough  times

From time-to-time, you will face issues that seem bigger than a mountain.    Ideally you should have processes in place which mitigate the risks of problems occurring!     At a minimum, your follow-up methods should ensure problems are not repeated as this could mean long term loss of business.  As can be seen from crisis reported in news, often, it is the culture of the organisation that gets it through tough times.

Examples of good cultures and good crisis management.

  1. Think of Qantas with Rolls Royce engine crisis.  They have a culture of safety, honesty and integrity.
  2. Chilean government in their recent crisis of miners stuck underground.

In both of the above examples, realistic expectations were set.   With Chile government, they got the miners out early! by setting expectations to Christmas.   Above all, both examples are ones of honesty, openness/transparency, constant communication, compassion, and setting expectations properly.

Compare this with some poor cultures and poor crisis management.

  1. BP in handling of the oil spill.   Everything from blaming contractors, lack of compassion, setting false expectations and acting like the problem is smaller than it was.   The bigger issue is that BP did not have a culture bank with American public to fall back on.  They re-branded BP as “Beyond Petroleum” but was often seen a “all talk, no action”.
  2. US government in Hurricane Katrina.  Compare this with Chilean government.   One wonders how a major wealthy nation cannot perform as well as a country of less than 17 million people with limited resources.    Culture of the people/government has allot to do with the outcome.

Your company may not have large resources or money, however, you can have a culture that allows you to get through tough and rocky times!   Remember, “Actions speak louder than words!”

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