5 Research-Backed Elements of a High Growth Culture

5 Research-Backed Elements of a High Growth Culture
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A High Growth Culture Must Be Designed
We believe that a workplace culture occurs by design or by default.  We also believe that it is a leader’s responsibility to design a culture that drives growth for the people AND for the business.  What does it take to build a high growth culture that can keep your organization thriving and performing at its peak?

First it takes a clear picture of the critical elements of a winning culture and then the resolve to never lose sight of what matters. In short, you need to keep your eye on the prize.

Recent Organizational Culture Research
When it comes to growth, workplace culture matters.

  • A recent Harvard Business School research report found an effective culture can account for up to half of the differential in performance between organizations in the same business.
  • Our own proprietary organizational alignment research found cultural factors account for up to 40% of the difference between high and low growth companies.

Five Research-Backed Elements of a High Growth Culture
Our 25+ years of experience with clients combined with our research of 410 companies across eight industries highlight five key elements of an organizational culture that can support high growth and success:

  1. The Growth Strategy is Clear, Believable, and Implementable
    A high performing corporate culture is based upon a clear growth strategy.  The first steps to a clear, believable and implementable strategy are to have agreement on four strategic growth drivers:

    What does your business hope to become in the near future?

    What is your organization’s fundamental purpose?

    Target Clients
    Who are your ideal target clients that will drive growth?

    What unique value proposition sets you apart from the competition as you seek to grow?

    A clear vision for growth combined with a meaningful mission, compelling value proposition, and the few key strategic growth actions for the next year should align all the business decisions and investments throughout the organization.

    While that sounds like a lot, ideally your overall corporate strategy should fit on one page.

  2. The Way Work Gets Done Has a Growth Mindset
    If you want to grow, growth should be at the top of every agenda, business process, and practice.  The way people think, behave, and act should emphasize areas related to having a growth mindset such as innovation, growth, agility, risk-taking, collaboration, persistence, customer-orientation, and continuous learning.

    Ideally growth mindset starts with your corporate values.  Values are the heart of a company’s culture and play a foundational role in creating and sustaining a high growth culture.  Done right, corporate values guide the mindsets and behaviors to grow your business and your people in a way that works for everyone.

    Though most companies have a list of so-called values, few are really good at modeling, living, and rewarding them in a way that drives high growth. And this is where the rubber meets the road.  If, for instance, a company values “making big bets for growth,” there should never be negative consequences for taking calculated risks.

    If your desire for growth is to be taken seriously, growth behaviors should be supported and reinforced in all corporate decisions, policies, and business practices to create, reward, and reinforce growth.

  3. The Way Talent Is Hired, Developed, and Promoted Drives Growth
    A growth orientation should be reflected in how you attract, develop, engage, and retain talent. By selecting, developing, and rewarding employees who thrive on what it takes to create and manage growth, you will strengthen the growth culture and attract those who fit.

    You will know you are on the right track when your highest performing employees are a strong cultural fit for growth.

  4. The Most Powerful Corporate Stories Are About Growth
    When you can tell a powerful story that clearly illustrates your desired corporate culture for growth, you have a compelling narrative to sustain a culture of growth and differentiate your company from the pack.  For example, stories, especially customer-oriented stories, about “seeing obstacles as opportunities for learning and growth” reinforce the organization’s overall growth mindset.

    Are you telling and promoting growth-oriented stories?

  5. Physical Environment and Location
    While more is being accomplished through virtual and global teams, it would be very challenging to support and foster an open and high growth environment if offices were separated with closed doors.  And it would be difficult to encourage innovation unless you had a ready stream of creative thinkers who cluster around academic hub and technology centers.  Geography, building design, and team collaboration technology can affect and even shape your corporate culture.

    Does your workplace support high growth interactions?

The Bottom Line
The culture of an organization is comprised of many factors. But we know from our organizational culture assessment data that these five research-backed elements of a high growth culture represent the first leadership steps to building a culture that will create high growth and high performance.

To learn more about creating a high performance culture, download The 3 Levels of a High Performance Culture that Matter Most

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