I don’t think there are two people on this planet that totally agree on what makes a company successful. Some people think it’s the idea, while others think it’s timing or execution. Personally, i think the one thing that can make or break a start up or a company is culture. And overlooking it can absolutely ruin companies even with perfect ideas and top notch execution. And building a foundation for good culture isn’t just hiring people with similar values to you, either. The best cultures are the ones that encourage employees to give critical feedback, even if it’s CEO getting the feedback. Actually, CEOs should be the first ones to ask for critical feedback, inspiring employees by actions instead of words.
Another reason why receiving critical feedback is important is because it gets rid of groupthink that naturally happens when like-minded people spend a lot of time together. We can see this on both sides – people start belonging to a group, and adapt to group’s ideas and morals instead of having their own. Which is very dangerous not only for the person, but whole company. People engaged in groupthink won’t be able to notice disaster that can put their company out of business, therefore they can’t stop it.
So how should business leaders inspire diversity of thought in employees? There are few methods, but as i stated before, the best one is leading by example. They should put themselves up to be criticized publicly and try to learn something from the feedback. Knowing that the leader of a company is himself approving this, employees will be more courageous to give feedback to their managers without having the fear of being fired.
I am an employee now as well, and quite unhappy at my workplace. I wish my manager had read the same articles about how successful companies with critical cultures are. I want to start my own company one day, and i know i’ll definitely be using these tips to be more competitive.