Sidney Halpern, Chartered Accountant, Winnipeg, MB, CYBF Mentor

The following five steps help you build a healthy corporate culture within your business.

1. Define a ‘healthy corporate culture’. It could include:

  • Integrity, honesty and wisdom
  • Team orientated for collective rather than individual goals
  • Professional excellence

2. Define the demographics of the people needed to build or sustain that culture.

3. Find people who fit those demographics. This includes a due diligence process not unlike one that is crucial in buying or starting businesses. Closely examine a person’s record over a period of time – no less than five years and preferably longer. This process could include getting an understanding of a person’s community and family life in addition to their business or career life.

4. Finding the right people is better done in-house rather than through professional head hunters. In-house personnel are better able to judge a potential employee’s fit within the existing organizational culture.  In addition to the technical aspects of a due diligence, which a head hunter would use, wisdom and “gut feel” are important elements in decision making. Professional help may be helpful as a resource to support the in-house efforts.

5. An advisory group as a shadow board of directors could be very helpful in ensuring that management is on the right track to building a healthy corporate culture. Ensure that experienced and knowledgeable people are engaged as advisors to review managements’ strategic and operational plans and results and offer objective criticism to validate or alter the organization’s operations as needed.

In my business career, I have found experienced people from outside the organization are helpful in making decisions. Mentoring is intended to provide this type of decision-making support that is why I believe CYBF has an important function to perform nationally.

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