4 Key Corporate Culture Questions to Get Aligned

4 Key Corporate Culture Questions to Get Aligned
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Culture Defined and the Corporate Culture Questions to Get Aligned
The Cambridge English Dictionary defines culture as “the way of life” of a particular group of people at a particular time. As such, it includes the group’s attitudes, behaviors, and opinions — in short, their general customs and beliefs.  Applied to the corporate world, workplace culture encompasses what it feels like to work there, how decisions are made, how employees are valued, and what actions are encouraged and rewarded.

Why Organizational Culture Matters
We have assessed organizational culture for decades, and our organizational alignment research found that organizational culture accounts for 40% of the difference between high and low performing companies in terms of revenue growth, profitability, customer loyalty, leadership effectiveness, and employee engagement.  A recent Harvard Business School research report found that an effective culture can account for up to half of the differential in performance between organizations in the same business.

There is no doubt that organizational culture matters to people AND the business.

Key Corporate Culture Questions to Get Aligned
When it comes to shaping an organizational culture to best execute your people and business strategies, begin with these four fundamental corporate culture questions to get aligned:

  1. What’s Our Fundamental Identity?
    An organization’s fundamental identity answers questions like: Who are we? Why are we here? What’s our fundamental purpose as an organization?   An organization’s fundamental identity can be easily felt by employees and easily seen by customers.

    Can everyone clearly articulate the organization’s fundamental identity?
  2. What Central Beliefs Guide Our Decisions?
    Along with the corporate vision and mission, corporate core values are a key driver that help set the overall strategic direction and expectations.  When effective and aligned, core values improve how top talent gets hired, promoted, developed, managed, engaged, and retained.  When ineffective or misaligned, core values don’t mean much and can sabotage progress.

    A company’s central beliefs matter most when things go wrong or when the way forward is unclear.

    Do your values help steer you in the right direction in terms of the expected mindsets and behaviors for leaders to model and people to emulate?
  3. Do We Have Enough Organizational Health to Achieve Our Goals?
    Just as your personal good health allows you to perform at your best, organizational health is the foundation for high performance. Recent research from McKinsey found that the top quartile of organizationally healthy companies delivers almost three times as much value to their shareholders – with measurable gains in as little as six months.

    Organizational health can be measured in terms of psychological team safety, trust in leadership, internal capabilities, and organizational climate. Without enough organizational health, it is almost impossible for individuals or teams to handle change or to lift their performance.

    Do you have enough organizational health to get to where you want to be in a way that makes sense?
  4. Does Everyone Understand How The Company Is Run?
    Leaders continue to underestimate the importance of business context in terms of people knowing how to think, behave, and work. For people to make wise decisions, everyone needs to understand how the company makes money, why you are organized the way you are, and how to add value in their unique role.

    Do people have the business acumen and organizational wherewithal to ensure that the way work gets done is helping, and not hindering, your strategic priorities?

The Bottom Line
Leaders know that how a company makes money (the WHAT — your strategy) impacts performance.  High performing leaders know that the way that money gets made (THE HOW — your corporate culture) often has a bigger impact on performance.  In fact, McKinsey found that companies that focus on both the WHAT and the HOW outperform their peers threefold.

To learn more about if your culture is aligned with your strategy, download A Purposeful and Aligned Organizational Culture – Your DNA for Success

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