Culture Flourishes Despite Management: The Boston Globe


Across organizations in every industry, company culture anchors and supports businesses during the most difficult times. Its strong force reminds everyone of who they are, what they do and, most importantly, why they do what they do. A struggling business’ reliance on its culture should win major kudos and more importantly, help it to overcome human failure. This week, the Boston Globe deserves such praise amid some of the worst management decisions of recent memory.

Ironically, one of the most important 2016 New England news stories involved the region’s most storied news outlet. A less than successful transition to a new delivery vendor left much the Globe’s readership without their morning edition the last few weeks. After the issues persisted, the Globe’s leadership publically apologized to customers and offered a polite explanation around the problems. Many vocal opponents canceled their subscriptions while others continue to wait for a solution.

The Globe leadership, under the direction of the company’s ownership, sought cost-saving initiatives to address its annual budget gaps worth millions. The paper sold its flagship headquarters on Morrissey Boulevard relocating its newsroom to a leased space in the Financial District and printing operation to the South Shore. The Paper crippled itself when it chose a less expensive delivery vendor that lacked the proper staff to execute. After weeks of cyclical issues, members of the newsroom team and others in the organization took matters into their own hands Sunday morning personally volunteering to deliver papers to their customers.

What fuels these employees to work well beyond their normal job descriptions? Culture.

Clear, well defined organizational culture prepares businesses for any challenge including poor, cost-saving management decisions. The people at the Globe understand who they are:  a journalistic resource to their subscribers. They know what they do: report on the most pressing matters of today. And, after weeks of difficulties, they remembered why they do what they do: The Boston Globe exists to share the news with everyone and inform the public.  This mission needs support from a strong vision that is the road map towards achievement. In this case, when the management team’s vision changes to cut costs no longer satisfying the mission, the culture kicks in. These women and men step up for their company to realize the mission.

When your business falls upon difficult times, can you rely on your people to act above and beyond? Cultural fit becomes increasingly important in these situations. How can you, as a business leader, empower recruiters and talent acquisition professionals identify and win talent that aligns with your culture?



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