3 Considerations for Building a High Performing Culture

Picture of a team rowing a crew shell in perfect form Building a High Performing Culture

Building a High Performing Culture Matters
Our organizational alignment research found that building a high performing culture accounts for 40% of the difference between high and low performing companies in terms of revenue growth, profitability, customer loyalty, and employee engagement.  With you or without you, your 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?

The Definition of Culture
A company’s culture represents the organization’s “way of life” and “how work gets done” – the behaviors and values that employees accept, often without thinking about them, and that, by imitation or communication, infuse the entire workforce.

Successful Leaders Shape the Workplace Culture
Successful leaders are very thoughtful and very intentional about how and in what direction they shape their cultural norms. They create a culture that is healthy, high performing, and aligned with the achievement of key business goals.  So, your job as a leader is to create the environment that gets everyone pulling in sync and in the same direction.

Three Considerations for Building a High Performing Culture
Here are some critical considerations as you go about the process of building a high performance culture that is aligned with your business strategy:

  1. As Leader, You Play a Critical Cultural 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 your strategy and your personality. Set the example for the behaviors, assumptions, and values you want to encourage.

    Areas of consideration include centralized or decentralized decision making, internal or external customer focus, market leader or market adopter philosophy, or a transactional or intimate customer focus. As a leader, it is mostly up to you to ensure that your culture aligns with your strategy, your leadership team, your marketplace, and your people.

  2. Question Which Physical Environment Will Foster the Culture You Seek
    The layout of office space can have a meaningful impact on a corporate culture. Offices with doors provide privacy for thinking uninterruptedly but can also create barriers to open and informal 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 comraderie and communication? This is the kind of question you should ask as you build your culture.  You can even test ideas to see how they impact building a high performing culture.

    Phil Libin at Evernote, a provider of note-taking and archiving technology, removed telephones from workers’ office desks, provided bi-monthly housecleaning for employees, and offered $1,000 toward vacations for employees who would take a week at a time.  These tactics were all aligned with Evernote’s desired culture and talent management strategy.

  3. Hire for the Corporate Culture You Want
    Every potential new hire should be screened for culture fit.  You want employees to be set up for success. Is their desired culture in alignment with yours? It better be or their tenure with you is likely to be short and unproductive.

    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 consistently enforce and reward your cultural norms? If so, make sure that each rule you create has a real purpose and will help to move your strategy forward.

    Try to eliminate all policies that get in the way of the way that you want work to get done to best execute your business and people strategies.

The Bottom Line
Building a high performing culture can set you apart from the competition.  Workplace culture is the glue that aligns your people with your strategy. Think through what would be the most effective culture for your business and people strategies.  Then make it happen,

To learn more about building a high performing culture, download The 3 Levels of Building a High Performing Culture

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