3 Ways to Shine a Light on a Healthy Organizational Culture

3 overhead lights to illuminate ways to build a 3 Ways to Shine a Light on a Healthy Organizational Culture

A Healthy Organizational Culture Matters
A healthy organizational culture can have a huge influence on the success or failure of your business.

  • The Harvard Business School recently reported that a healthy culture can account for up to 50% of the difference in performance between organizations in the same industry.
  • Our own organizational alignment research concluded that culture accounts for 40% of the difference between low- and high-growth companies. Indeed, a healthy culture matters.

What Is Culture?
We define organizational culture as how and why things truly get done in an organization.  Organizational culture can be measured by understanding the way people think, behave and work.  This includes the known and unspoken values and assumptions that drive key business practices and behaviors.

Organizational culture is what new employees need to learn to be “accepted as a member” and what makes the organization “feel and act” like itself.

Healthy Leadership Creates a Healthy Organizational Culture
Organizational culture is, to a large degree, defined and guided by a company’s leaders…especially through the people they hire, fire and promote.  If you are a leader, it is your responsibility to ensure you create and reinforce a healthy organizational culture that supports the winning strategy of your business.

3 Ways to Ensure a Healthy Organizational Culture
To ensure a healthy organizational culture, you must be vigilant.  Culture can all too easily get derailed.  Here is what you need to do to ensure that your healthy organizational culture is not threatened:

1. Check in Regularly with Employees
Conduct simple, confidential and consistent employee surveys, focus groups and discussions. Keep a pulse on how employees experience the company’s culture, what they value most and what they would like to see changed.  Encourage honest feedback and commit to making changes as a result of what you learn.

2. Watch for Signs of Deterioration
Watch out for decreasing productivity, increasing complaints to HR, an uptick in turnover, lackadaisical effort, and negative talk. The temptation is to ignore these warning signs, but you cannot afford to let them manifest. Be honest with yourself and get at the root cause of any of these worrisome indications of a potentially unhealthy organizational culture.

3. Shine a Light on Company Values
Be crystal clear about the kind of behavior that you and your employees want to promote…the kinds of behavior that distinguish your workplace in a positive way. Remember it is not enough to state your corporate values, you must live, promote and monitor them every day.  Recognize and reward the desired behaviors and have clear consequences for undesired behaviors.

The Bottom Line
A healthy organizational culture is not just a nice-to-have.  It is the foundation of a thriving business.  Don’t jeopardize the success of your company.  Communicate cultural values clearly, listen closely to your employees and beware of cultural warning signs.

To learn more about a healthy organizational culture, download The 3 Levels of a High Performance Culture

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