Amidst other strategies, such as software development processes and human resources, culture is often neglected due to its complexity. However, it is a crucial element that many executives find difficult to define and transform, leading to widespread challenges in this area.
While some companies and organizations are aware of the significance of fostering their culture, others may believe it to be static and unchangeable. Culture forms the foundation of social interactions and serves as an “operating system,” dictating the conduct of employees and influencing the company’s interactions with external entities.
Your corporate culture, much like the operating system of a computer or mobile device, places constraints on every aspect of your business, be it sales, customer service, or technology. Just as faulty operating systems cause software to malfunction, a poorly-designed “operating system” for an organization can result in similar subpar outcomes.
A robust corporate culture empowers organizations with the ability to respond effectively and consistently in challenging situations. A clearly-defined culture offers employees a framework to turn to when confronted with tough decisions during times of turmoil. Cultures enable companies to remain steadfast and advance in the midst of commercial challenges, ethical predicaments, and emerging trends.
Cultural norms are resources that are hard to duplicate. While competitors may easily recreate products and perhaps even hire some staff, they will find it more arduous to replicate a company’s distinctive culture. A robust culture fosters positive conduct and shared beliefs, rendering it a crucial component of thriving businesses.
Master the Fundamentals First
When striving to create a robust culture for your organization, it is advantageous to examine the fundamental components that compose your company’s “operating system.” To understand the advantages of a strong corporate culture, it may be worthwhile to study the practices of other prosperous businesses.
The Ritz Carlton hotel chain has established itself as a prominent name in exceptional customer service. Exemplifying this is their tagline, “We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen,” which embodies the company’s dedication to delivering top-notch service while honouring their employees and empowering them with the freedom to do what it takes to attain it.
Rather than compiling an exhaustive list of desirable values, it is crucial to pinpoint two or three essential principles that can characterise your company. These can include integrity, perseverance, and thrift, among others.
It is essential to anticipate cases where teams may have to make tough decisions and to establish the preferred course of action. This involves weighing the advantages of following a prudent approach, which entails involving several colleagues to tackle the problem, versus taking swift action and adapting if necessary. Additionally, should the company prioritize customer satisfaction over other stakeholders?
Assess your list of ordered values to identify any inconsistencies. Establishing a culture of cost minimization while delivering Ritz-Carlton-level service quality is unrealistic. Similarly, fostering an innovative culture while limiting risk and regulating expenses is not plausible for technology companies.
Building a Culture
After identifying the core values of your organization, it is crucial to evaluate the extent to which they are being demonstrated in the work environment. Although progress may already be underway in integrating the highlighted values, it is also plausible that the company is heading in the wrong direction and that a shift in strategy may be required.
Exhibiting model behaviour and sharing experiences are two of the most effective and closely linked approaches for shaping and cultivating company culture. Regardless of your intentions, your employees will emulate your actions, whether positive or negative.
No matter how many high-level mission and value statements, HR guidelines, or expert advice a company may have, if its executives do not uphold the core culture that they are striving to instill, these measures will be of no advantage. When a leader’s actions conflict with the team’s values, they will face more opposition from their subordinates.
As a leader, exemplifying the desired level of behaviour and conduct will serve as a powerful example to others to follow.
For your company, creating and disseminating stories that highlight how cultural values have been effectively implemented is advantageous. Crafting a shared mythology can foster and reinforce the company’s culture, much like how other societies and communities have their own tales.
It is typical for innovative companies to narrate stories of how a small team or an individual, through sheer dedication and a bit of good fortune, were able to triumph against all odds. Similarly, customer-focused businesses can offer several instances of staff members surpassing expectations to guarantee customer contentment.
Certain stories can be utilized to showcase the values that you seek to foster within your community. It is beneficial to cite instances of these standards being implemented. The protagonist of these narratives ought to be an ordinary individual or team, to demonstrate that success within the organization is not solely determined by hierarchy or job position.
A robust company culture will shape how your teams approach tasks, spanning from marketing to code development.
Nurturing and Cultivating Cultures
Similar to other aspects of a business, culture necessitates nurturing and upkeep. To supplement strategic planning, it is essential to regularly evaluate the organization’s culture. Are you actively working towards fulfilling your core principles? Ensure that you and other leaders within your team are embodying the desired culture. Are there any stories that your staff, particularly new team members, frequently share that highlight the best aspects of your culture?
Revamping a company’s culture demands both dedication and time, but can be accomplished without significant monetary investments or intricate methods, so long as proper planning is carried out. A company’s culture functions similarly to a finely calibrated operating system; it enhances performance and establishes a sturdy foundation for potential future expansion, which is challenging to duplicate.