Organizational Culture – what is it?
Every workplace has a culture – the way employees interact with each other; the ways things get done around here; the way we approach performance goals; treats its employees and customers; their self-identification of their organization and/or department.
It was created over time, but is it the right culture? A CEO and leadership team cannot “set around” and assume their culture will be ok because they are the top leaders. – Wrong assumption, they must define the culture, live it every day and demand all employees embrace it. WHY? Culture is the foundation and engine for the organization’s growth; it’s profitability; and the pathway to hire, develop and retain top talent.
There’s no one-size-fits-all culture – there is some danger in trying to copy successful organizational cultures like Southwest Airlines, Google, Amazon, and Apple. Yes, learn from them, but you must create your own culture based on who you are and your philosophy for engaging employees, serving customers and vision for the future.
A working definition – Culture is the behavior of humans within an organization and the meaning that people attach to those behaviors – specific core values, excited about the future vision for the organization, and passion about the organization’s mission/purpose. In the hall-way, you hear, “I like coming to work everyday and being apart of the company’s success.”
A recent HBR article written by Frei & Morris stated, “Culture guides discretionary behavior and it picks up where the employee handbook leaves off. Culture tells us how to respond to an unprecedented service request. It tells us whether to risk telling our bosses about our new ideas, and whether to surface or hide problems. Employees make hundreds of decisions on their own every day, and the culture is their guide. Culture tells us what do when the CEO isn’t in the room, which is of course most of the time.”
Peter Drucker pointed-out in his writings and speeches to CEOs, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast!” Thus, focus on it so that your strategy will work.
We work with the organization’s top leaders to define and implement their culture. It involves focus group, target interviews with senior team and top leaders to produce the culture behaviors and traits. Followed by a plan of execution.