Today's CPA | Winter 2017
Culture: will you drive it or will it drive you?
I want to talk about culture. Not how you hold a teacup, but how you shape the environment that exists in your workplace.
ICPAS President & CEO
I want to talk about culture. Not how you hold a teacup, but how
you shape the environment that exists in your workplace. Over the
past year, we’ve discussed many factors impacting our organizations:
an aging workforce, multiple generations, work-life balance,
work anytime-anywhere, and unlimited PTO. These things, among
others, greatly impact the cultures within our workplaces. So, what
kind of culture do you want to create?
First off, can you define your organization’s culture? If you
can, is it siloed or collaborative, team oriented or individual
focused? Does it value diversity of gender, race, and ethnicity?
Does it encourage professional advancement and emphasize
Culture can have a huge impact on one’s organization. It impacts
staff recruitment and retention, and innovation and implementation
of new business development. Culture can literally drive the
success or failure of your business. Which means it’s critical that
everyone understands the culture in your organization.
A collaborative culture, for instance, doesn’t just happen—you
need to foster it. You’ll need to encourage staff to work together.
If you have a work anytime-anywhere or sporadic work-at-home
program, it’s critical to also have technology tools that still
While you may value gender, race, and ethnic diversity, does your
culture reinforce that? Women are significantly underrepresented
in the partner ranks of firms and the offices of CEOs and CFOs. We
excuse that by saying that women choose not to pursue the leadership
track in order to have a family. Maybe that’s true if your
organization requires executives to work endless nights and weekends;
however, if we truly value gender diversity, no woman
should ever feel that she must make that choice. On the other side,
why should men feel that they must choose not to be part of raising
the family if they want to progress into leadership?
If you value work-life balance, does your culture support it? If staff,
especially young staff, leave early for a personal function or to
coach their child’s sports team, do the older partners or directors
comment on their commitment? You may think that no one knows
what you say, but they do, and it impacts the culture. If you truly
value work-life balance in your workplace, all need to embrace
and support it.
If you are in a leadership position at a firm or company, do you
know what the culture of your organization is, and is it the culture
you want it to be? Do your employees understand the kind of culture
you want the organization to have?
Many studies show that collaborative, diverse environments drive
better business results: greater innovation, higher revenues, and
increased profits. Still, it can be argued that there is no right or
wrong answer when it comes to the culture of an organization. So,
I’ll ask you this: Are you truly fostering the culture you want? And
in the end, will you drive it or will it drive you?