Company Culture, What's Yours?

By Tom Monaghan, PGA of Canada and President of Monaghan Golf Group


Beliefs. Values. Character.

These three words help to describe your corporate culture.  It is the beliefs that are held by management and staff, the values they hold most precious, and the character traits that make them unique in the marketplace.

Culture is what sets companies apart from their competition.  What is your company culture and is it bringing you success?

Some company cultures can cause dysfunction and failure. Even the most successful companies sometimes need to look at their culture and make changes to save themselves. Apple is an excellent example. Apple’s culture is based on innovation and a passion for introducing new products. However, it also was known for its culture of secrecy and its intense work ethic strongly based on deadlines.

Its CEO, Steve Jobs, was known for his quirky, demanding style and leadership by fear. Though much of the company’s original DNA is intact, most of the dysfunctional cultural characteristics have gone away under the direction of new CEO, Tim Cook. Cook has encouraged a more collaborative culture with more focus on employees and social responsibility.

Let’s explore what makes a corporate culture: a vision statement, authentic values, practicing what you preach, employing the right people (be selective), your environment, and the story your company seeks to tell.

  1. A vision statement - Most successful companies are driven by their vision or mission statement. This statement outlines the belief system of the company. The vision statement transcends the views and beliefs of any individual and gives the entire company a direction. Consider the leader of the company to be the captain of the ship and the vision statement to be the final destination. With the help of the crew, the captain steers the ship towards its final destination.
  2. Authentic values - At the beginning of each golf season it is important to communicate with staff that all decisions they make on a daily basis – whether it be correct or incorrect – is a decision that should be made with the best interest of the company in mind.  The company’s values must be rooted in the belief of the company as a whole.
  3. Practice what you preach - As the leader of a company your word means a lot to your staff and your customers. Being true to your word is a contributor to corporate culture. Stay consistent in this practice as any deviation can be seen as a weakness and will impact how your company is perceived.
  4. Employ the right people - Be Selective. Not every personality fits with every company culture. An employee that does not understand or believe in the company’s culture is potentially a dangerous thing. Conversely the right employee can strengthen and elevate the corporate culture and contribute to the success of the company. Be selective in recruiting staff. They will not only influence the culture but also be proud to be working within it.
  5. Your Environment - The physical space in which you work can also influence corporate culture. Open space, brightly lit areas, clean and tidy surroundings, and safety and security, will allow for a positive environment in which staff, customers and stakeholders can feel good about the experience, thus contributing to a positive culture.
  6. Tell a story - As with any culture, history plays a big part. The company’s story paints a picture of where it has come from and where it is going. The company that tells the most compelling story typically has a very strong corporate culture.

Does your golf operation embody any or all of these traits? Do you actively work to create a company culture or is it an afterthought?

The thing to remember is that EVERY company has a culture. The most successful are the ones who have cultivated and embraced their culture and made it a part of their story. They use it in their marketing efforts and it encompasses everything they do day to day, and strategically. Identifying your company culture and either nurturing it or changing it is important to the long-term success of any golf operation.