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Company Culture: What Builds it Up and What Tears it Down

I want to start this blog by discussing what can ruin a culture because this topic may be more important than the culture itself.

When executed effectively, top-down management can foster open communication, enhance decision-making, control, direction setting, and be efficient. It does not have to limit innovation or create communication barriers, resistance to change, or creative constraints. We highly value input and understand that the best decisions are often made when we work together from top to bottom. 

Not all employees will agree with the management’s decisions. All I can do is hope they will respect and appreciate that our job is to make the best decisions for the company's betterment. We will make mistakes because we are human, just like them. And yes, we hear the whispering that goes on in the cubicles and offices, and those are the employees who do not support management's decisions because they believe they can do it better. These are likely the same employees who will never be managers because trust is the key to a good manager, and they have already lost at that game.

Suppose your conversation requires you to whisper. How constructive is it? You are likely speaking poorly of someone trying their best, so have a little grace, approach the person you are whispering about, and have a constructive conversation about why you need to talk poorly about them and how their actions affect you. I lead this company with transparency and honesty and expect employees to do the same. I make the statement that we are seeking “A” players and average work product is not enough for me. Being a good person and leaving the drama at the door is a requirement for employment at Ignite Funding because we do not have time for drama with the goals we set out to achieve every year. 

I am trying to convey to everyone who reads this blog that management is not the enemy. They are doing what they believe to be best to create a workplace that fosters professional growth. In our office, employees have an open door to their manager and me directly. We solve problems and work through shortcomings; we do not create them.

The culture of the company has always been a top priority. If you are fortunate enough to experience the culture, you know the effort put into making Ignite Funding a place where you want to work. But this cannot happen without the people. To be employed here, you must embrace and participate in the shock-inducing culture that comes with the job. New employees are always shocked at the fun and creative things that we do to build team spirit. We know they are the right fit when they are quick to join in on our antics. Employees dedicate most of the day to the company, and I believe they should constantly be reminded that I appreciate their efforts.

Off-topic for a minute… I write this blog because I was told years ago that people want to know my thoughts. I do not find it essential, but others do, so I dedicate my time to it. I am writing this blog at 6:00 a.m. on the day of my son’s graduation because if someone benefits in the slightest way from reading this, then it is worth my time.  And my marketing department is on my ass that it is due today.

I got off topic because I will do something I have never done before: I will use chat GPT to see what culture means for a computer-generated AI. Here goes nothing. According to chat GPT, culture encompasses the shared values, beliefs, customs, norms, behaviors, and practices that characterize a particular group of people, organization, or society. It’s a group's collective identity and way of life, shaping how its members interact, communicate, and perceive the world around them. 

Well, that was eloquent. According to Carrie Cook, culture is being willing to show employees you care about them, letting them be young and free-spirited and express themselves in a fun and positive manner, and building a team that can work together in good times and bad because they know they can trust the people around them to have their back.

And now, I am going to turn this blog on my employees. If you read this blog, I want you to email me and describe the culture of Ignite Funding. All submissions will be posted in the next blog, which will also be a testament to how many Ignite Funding employees read the blog.

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