The Elements

By Andrea Schlapia   |   March 2, 2012

What Culture Are You Cultivating At Your Firm – Healthy or Toxic?

Categories: Blog, Culture, Human Element

What Culture Are You Cultivating At Your Firm – Healthy or Toxic?

It’s obvious that you want a healthy organizational culture at your firm.   But, do you really know what type of culture is being cultivated with or without you?  As elusive as corporate culture is, it does have a rather large impact on your firms work environment and productivity levels.

By our definition, a winning culture at your firm is one that fosters a healthy pattern of interactions among team members by encouraging openness, honesty, respect, and assertiveness in day-to-day dealings and when handling problems.

When you have a “healthy” organizational culture your firm will:

  • Increase productivity
  • Increase growth
  • Increase efficiency
  • Reduce employee turnover
  • Reduce counterproductive behavior


A variety of characteristics that describe a healthy culture, include:

  • Appreciation of diversity
  • Fair treatment of each employee
  • Recognition that each employee makes a healthy contribution to the firm
  • Investment in training to expand employee knowledge
  • Investment in training to expand employee knowledge


Before making a change in a toxic culture you must first admit that your firm is operating in a toxic culture.    Ask yourself some of these questions:

  • Is there a lack of acceptance when new ideas are presented?
  • Are others taking credit for another employee’s work or ideas?
  • Have you or are you experiencing high turn-over or losing valuable employees?
  • Is there low team morale?


If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you will want to turn the toxic gauges off and make some change.  Toxic cultures harbor bitter team members and prevent your firm from reaching full potential.  It is very possible that there is a toxic culture in your firm without you (the owner/manager of the firm) even being aware of it.

How do you go about changing a toxic culture? 

  1. Identify any problems through Ironstone’s SWOT analysis
  2. Create a strategic vision for your ideal culture
  3. Design a step-by-step plan with milestone goals to help you keep on track
  4. Have commitment from top-management
  5. Implement your plan by modeling the cultural change (teach by example rather than words)


People often resist changes hence it is the duty of the management to convince people that likely gain will outweigh the losses.

We Want To Hear From You!   What assistance do you need to improve the culture at your firm?


Follow Us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™! 

  • Strategic Planning
  • Business Development
  • Operational Effectiveness
  • The Human Element

You won’t want to miss our next in the series:  Strategic Planning-Operating Costs

Andrea Schlapia
Organizational Development and Human Capital

Andrea Schlapia, RCC™, HCS, sHRBP, is the Founder and CEO of Ironstone, which represents the culmination of her 20+ year career within the financial services industry. Her experience began as a financial advisor evolving into a consultant coach for advisors entering the field. This ignited her passion to support others through learning and development of best practices in order to achieve substantial results. To this end, she followed her desire into positions of senior-level practice management specialists for Dreyfus, Prudential, and DWS Investments prior to the realization of Ironstone.  Andrea’s focus is on practice management strategies to enhance and improve both business and personal life.

Andrea identifies 4 key performance areas known as the Fundamental 4™, which are required to design, develop, and sustain a successful business. Through coaching sessions and speaking engagements, she captivates her audience with interactive, high-energy presentations which are built with “how-to” strategies resulting in real-world implementation for significant impact. Andrea has been featured in multiple publications and audio broadcasts as a specialist and distinguished spokeswoman in the financial industry.

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