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How To Identify Areas of Opportunity in a Company's Culture and Come Up With a Plan To Address Them

1851 Franchise interviewed Hortense le Gentil, author of the new book, Aligned: Connecting Your True Self with the Leader You're Meant to Be.

Hortense le Gentil is an executive leadership coach and the president and founder of JAY Consulting. She currently works with decision-makers in the business world, including many executives from Fortune 500 companies. Le Gentil supports leaders in their development by working with them on the alignment between their personal values and their professional activities.

Prior to coaching full time, le Gentil spent over 30 years in various industries, working for leading multinational companies in the areas of media consulting, marketing and advertising. After that, she spent 10 years as CEO of her entrepreneurial start-up in metals recycling.

le Gentil is part of the MG100 Coaches, Marshall Goldsmith’s Pay It Forward project, and is a certified Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered™ Coach. She has been selected to receive a Thinkers 50 coaching award for excellence in her field and has been featured in leading publications such as Business Insider, Forbes and Fast Company on topics of leadership, coaching and alignment.

1851: Where does a negative culture stem from in the workplace?

le Gentil: A negative company culture stems from a lack of alignment between a brand’s core values and the goals of the leadership team. If those core values are not clear and in place from the beginning, it permeates throughout the organization. 

1851: How can companies come up with a plan to address negative culture in their company?

le Gentil: As a strong leader in a company, the CEO needs to be in alignment with what the company is attempting to accomplish. In other words, the CEO should clearly connect with the “why” in the company culture: why do these employees get up and come to work every day? There should be a clear vision and mission that comes from the top down. If there isn’t, a company needs to start working from there to address it—from the CEO on down.  

The CEO needs to first and foremost establish themselves as a successful leader of the company. Once that leadership position is in place, it is important that they command with authenticity and clarity. If they succeed in this, the negativity will turn around as they will have intuitively taken charge by listening to the employees and charting positive change.

1851: What are some signs of a strong company culture? 

le Gentil: When each employee wakes up in the morning, they should know why they are coming to work, what the company stands for and how they fit in the big picture. In a strong company culture, leaders communicate the brand vision and objectives clearly and have an open line of communication. Everyone from the CEO to the staff should be actively involved in the culture of the company. If the leaders are listening to employee’s ideas, encouraging creativity and supporting innovation, the culture will feel welcoming, secure and, in turn, productive.