Businessolver Blog

Change Language, Change Culture

Change Language, Change Culture
Posted on Wednesday, January 7, 2015 by Businessolver Team

Sticks and stones may break bones – but words can kill a culture.

In a hyper-growth company, culture and brand experience can easily become victim to scale. Businessolver has doubled to roughly 500 employees in under a year. The natural reaction in a rapidly scaling organization is to create more policy, more controls, and to just slow down a bit to ensure the new folks understand and assimilate into our culture of growth and transparency and collaboration. That reaction is deadly.

As your organization transforms from that rag tag group of early stage employees without job descriptions who could move mountains for clients in an instant – to a larger organization with more inertia – your leadership must embrace change, agility, and diversity of thinking.   Most importantly, your company must embrace and focus with laser precision on the power of words and their effect on culture.

If you have said or heard any of the following phrases popping up in meetings, one-on-one’s, or water cooler conversations – take heed.

  1. I’ll be a better leader when things finally slow down.
  2. I just can’t get any momentum until I clear my plate from all these distractions.
  3. Fires keep me from being proactive.
  4. My calendar is just too full for me to find time to focus on what matters.
  5. That’s just how it is here.
  6. I just need to clear out my email, get caught up, and then I can do what’s necessary.
  7. There’s just no time in the day left to be educated in the industry or our own system functionality.
  8. I’d like to get strategic things done but you know how things are here.
  9. If we’d only stop selling so much, hire even more people, slow down, train people, and document things – then we’d really be successful.
  10. I wish we would just ____________________________!

These phrases are deadly to you, your team, and your company’s growth. They’re deadly to the long term health of your culture (that thing you’ve worked so hard to maintain over the years). They undermine. They shut down productive conversation. They suck the life and energy out of a room. They send a new employee home wondering if they’ve made the right choice.

Language matters more than we all realize in the moment. Language drives culture, and culture isn’t an abstract concept. Culture is really the sum of the actions, promises, and words we use every single day – with each other and with our clients.

Listen closely every single day or risk creating the very company you left for greener pastures.