3 Considerations for Building a High Performing Culture

Picture of a team rowing a crew shell in perfect form

With you or without you, an organizational culture will evolve. Wouldn’t you as leader want to have an influence over what emerges as the company’s behavioral norms and practices? A company’s culture represents the organization’s “way of life”… the behaviors and values that employees accept, often without thinking about them, and that, by imitation or communication, infuse the entire workforce.

Successful leaders are very thoughtful and very intentional about how and in what direction they shape their high performing corporate culture. Create a culture that works and you will have engaged employees and high performance; create an environment and tone that does not work and you are unlikely to achieve your business goals. The bottom line – your job as a leader is to set the environment that gets everyone pulling in sync and in the same direction.

Here are some critical considerations as you go about the process of shaping a corporate culture that is aligned with your business strategy:

1. As leader, you play a critical role.
As you go, so goes the “nation.” You can set the tone for the organizational culture you desire, but make sure it authentically fits you and your personality. If you are leading an entrepreneurial startup, you probably feel better in a hoodie than in a suit with a briefcase. By the same token, a big city legal firm would not seem credible unless rather formally dressed.

However, culture goes far beyond attire. Set the example for the behaviors and values you want to encourage…structured interoffice appointments or drop-in, freewheeling discussions; strict or flexible office hours; flat or hierarchical reporting arrangements. It is mostly up to you.

2. Question what physical environment will foster the culture you seek.
The layout of office space can have a huge impact on corporate culture. Offices with doors provide privacy for thinking uninterruptedly but can also create barriers to open communication. Lack of gathering spots can inhibit collaboration and the testing out of new ideas on coworkers. Do break rooms and gym facilities encourage employees to work less or do they promote communication? This is the kind of question you should ask as you build your culture.

You can even test ideas to see what happens. Phil Libin at Evernote, a provider of note-taking and archiving technology, actually removed telephones from workers’ office desks. He reasoned that desk phones were unnecessary when cell phones and conference room phones were available; surprisingly nobody seemed to miss them. He also provided bi-monthly housecleaning for employees; this quickly earned the appreciation and support of employees’ significant others. A “take as much vacation as you want as long as your work is done” policy, however, required a bit of adjustment. Evernote’s dedicated workers were not taking much time off at all. Libin needed to add the enticement of $1,000 for those who would take a week at a time.

3. Hire for the corporate culture you want.
Every new person you hire should be screened for the culture in which they work best. Is their desired culture in alignment with yours? It better be or their tenure with you is likely to be short. Culture matters in the overall employee attraction, engagement and retention game…it matters a lot.

4. Choose your “rules” carefully.
Every organization needs some standards of behavior by which they operate and to which they hold leaders and employees accountable. Do you really intend to enforce and reward them? If so, make sure that each rule you create has a real purpose and makes sense within your high performing corporate culture and strategic vision. Establishing hard and fast regulations around time off might be acceptable in some business cultures but would not fly in the entrepreneurial culture of Silicon Valley as exemplified by Google and other successful high-tech firms.

Organizational alignment of strategy, culture and talent is the key. Think through what would be the most effective culture for your business strategy…one that feels authentic to you and that will attract, inspire and retain the employees you want both now and in the future. Align the organizational culture with your style, your business, and your ideal employee profile and you will improve organizational performance.

Share:
Facebook Twitter Google+ Email LinkedIn

Comments are closed.

VNUS Medical has been very pleased with the effective management development programs that LSA Global has delivered for us over the last four years. The programs have been universally facilitated by experienced and best in class instructors. The knowledge gained by our management team has been put into practice very quickly. VNUS is very happy to be working in partnership with LSA because they consistently deliver excellent programs that receive exceptional feedback from our management team.

Cindee Van Vleck
Director Human Resources

Thank you to LSA Global for their partnership and support in helping us to design and roll-out our valuable management development training program. I personally have partnered with LSA Global at four of my previous companies. It continues to be a delight working with LSA. We look forward to partnering with them at Blackhawk Networks for future training and consulting needs.

Suzanne Kinner
VP Human Resources

Blackhawk Network

LSA helped us design and deliver a blended learning solution for our leaders to help drive our growth plans in a way that aligned with our specific culture and values. LSA understood our business, had deep expertise in the content areas, tailored the programs to fit our specific needs, and delivered great results. They constantly strive to deliver business impact and align their solutions with our business initiates, culture, and performance management systems. I highly recommend them to anyone looking to take their leaders to the next level.”

Beth A. Taylor
Vice President of Human Resources

Thoratec

I’ve been associated with LSA for the last 8 years and have found them to be an extremely professional, well managed full service training organization. Since working with LSA, I’ve participated in a number of solutions ranging from Performance Management to Assertiveness Training – I’ve found that the quality of the resources is superior. They are well prepared and have definitely done a considerable amount of pre-work in order to customize our culture and business into the total learning experience – making it most beneficial for our employees.

Duane Schroeder
Human Resource Manager

We recently partnered with LSA Global to offer our Supervisors and Managers a customized two-day management training program. Everyone who attended said it was by far the best management training program they had ever attended. The content was rich and highly interactive. The case studies were relevant. Each participant walked away from the training much better equipped to lead their teams.

Jeff Coon
Director of Human Resources

LSA helped to meet the needs of my teams within a very narrow timeframe. My team walked away with highly useful management tools and practices. LSA saved us time in delivering the right solution for our specific needs.

Sandeep Kumar
Director, Software Engineering, EPG

LSA has become the gold standard in team building and management training at Genomic Health! I have a hard time finding facilitators that come close to their level of customization, expertise and experience.

Emily Couey
Director of Human Resources

The Next Generation Management Development courses have helped me communicate more effectively with my peers and teammates. By utilizing effective communication techniques such as clarifying and confirming, and asking open ended questions, I have been able to clarify and understand information in situations where I would have otherwise asked limited questions and made false assumptions.

Robert Breckner
Firmware Engineering Manager

I highly recommend LSA Global to anyone who is looking to improve individual or organizational effectiveness through their top quality programs and broad range of expertise.

Greg Pappas
VP of Human Resources

Congratulations on your pro-activity in establishing this program and developing such an effective New Employee Orientation course.

Farhat Ali
President and Chief Executive Office

Fujitsu

We consider LSA our true business partner in the areas of Learning and Organizational Development. From Strategic Planning to Presentation Skills and Management Training, they continue to provide excellent value and extremely high quality solutions – not just one time events. I recommend them to anyone looking to drive true business results.

Michelle A. Mitchell
Vice President, Worldwide Human Resources

On behalf of Roche and my staff I would like to sincerely thank you for your help with this. The English as a Second Language (ESL) assessment and coaching that you provided for our team was a great success.

Cam Greig
Associate Director

Roche

We have been able to utilize LSA’s extensive network of top-notch resources to leverage our investment in employee development. The result has been the cost effective and highly efficient delivery of quality educational and management training programs.

Steve Feller
Vice President, Human Resources

Here’s a token of my appreciation for ALL your efforts. I’m offering my most sincere appreciation, and it extends to all the folks who made our customized management development programs possible.

Susan Anderson
Workforce Planning Bureau

LSA’s approach and ability to bring the best resources to eBay has been a great asset. They really focus on helping us succeed in any way they can and are very flexible in meeting our management and talent needs.

Mike Normant
Learning & Development

ebay

Evaluate your Performance

Toolkits

Toolkits

Download key published insights and tools from industry experts highlighting best practices in the areas of talent, strategy and culture.

More

Health Checks

Health Checks

Want to know how you stack up against leading organizations?  Receive a complimentary benchmarking analysis courtesy of an LSA Expert.

More

Whitepapers

Whitepapers

Get up to speed on timely solutions critical to your business. Published by LSA Experts based upon client feedback and key industry trends.

More

Methodology

Methodologies

First we identify the key metrics you want to improve. Then we assemble a dedicated team of elite experts who have successfully solved similar problems with similar clients.

More

Blogs

Stay up to do date with the latest information on how we help high growth companies align their culture and talent with strategy.

More

Case Studies

Client Case Studies

Real world consulting and training approaches from LSA projects, providing insights on how your company can outperform the competition.

More