A High Growth Culture Must Be Designed
We believe that a workplace culture occurs by design or by default. 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
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. You shouldn’t need much more than those figures to be convinced that corporate culture matters.
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:
— Target Clients: Who are your ideal target clients?
— Differentiation: What unique value proposition sets you apart from the competition?
A clear vision combined with a meaningful mission, compelling value proposition, and the few key strategic 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.
Though most companies have a list of so-called values, few are really good at modeling, living, and rewarding them. And this is where the rubber meets the road.
If for instance a company values “open communication,” there should never be negative consequences for honest and constructive feedback.
If your rules of the road are to be taken seriously, your corporate values should be supported and reinforced in all corporate decisions, policies, and practices.
You will know you are on the right track when your highest performing employees are a strong cultural fit.
For example, if corporate stories tend to be about “how hard people work,” and you want a culture that supports a “work-life balance,” then you need to create new stories.
The bigger the desired culture change, the more dramatic and compelling your new stories need to be to overcome the “old stories.”
Similarly, if you want to create a “process efficient” company culture focused on cost savings like Walmart, you should work to eliminate the heroic stories that make employees at Nordstrom’s so proud.
To this extent, geography, building design, and team collaboration technology can affect and even shape your corporate culture.
The Bottom Line
The culture of an organization is comprised of many factors. But these five research-backed elements of a high growth culture represent the first leadership steps to building a strong, vibrant 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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