Culture Matters. Company culture can be defined as “the values and behaviors that are displayed within an organization, which determine the ways things get done”. Good news: every company has a culture. Bad news: an amazing culture takes intentional effort (with leadership attention) and develops over time. It’s not a one-hit wonder.
While many companies desire a positive, healthy, thriving culture (not an energy-sucking, draining one), most companies fall somewhere in the middle. How do you build the culture you desire?
Culture must be a priority and it must be intentionally crafted. Ask yourself, how do we want to win and differentiate ourselves from other employers? The best ways to do this include: hiring the best people, recognizing and rewarding them, ensuring systems are efficient, communicating often and well, instilling company values and vision that teammates live by (not just posting it on the conference room wall), and requiring leaders to lead by example and continually build trust.
Your culture should be hard to replicate. It’s unique to your team, their wants and needs being met in a variety of ways. Change should be the norm, since culture is always evolving. It’s a product of action, reaction and more action. Just be sure that you are taking the right actions to move your organization forward and not backward.
Everyone is talking about culture: are your leaders?
Successful companies know that focusing on culture will drive organizational performance. Culture must be aligned with business strategy. A phrase originated by Peter Drucker and made famous by Mark Fields (President of Ford) says that: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Unfortunately, it’s a phrase that seems to be forgotten during leadership strategy planning sessions. It’s “too soft” and intangible, there’s no hard number. Well leaders, work on your soft skills because culture is here to stay.
However, culture and strategy are intertwined at the deepest levels, and if not aligned then organizational success will surely falter. No matter how strong your corporate strategy is, it’s culture that will determine how well it gets executed and sticks over time. We like to think of it as “what happens when the CEO isn’t looking”. And so we ask, how strong is your culture? Do people come in early and stay late? Do you allow for balance in their work life? Do they work tirelessly to meet deadlines, impress clients, get along with teammates? Are you making it intentional or allowing it to develop on its own?
Leadership buy-in is one of the biggest obstacles in strengthening a company’s culture. Need stats to drive the point home? In 2015, Deloitte surveyed 3000 leaders – across 106 countries- and culture / engagement was the largest issue. And while 86% of C-suite believes culture is important, only 45% think something is actually happening to change it.
What’s your culture-shaping strategy?
As Cincinnati’s competitive market continues to grow, it’s essential to ensure your organization’s competitive advantage shines. Be intentional. Remember, when people matter, companies thrive.