Do You Have a Misaligned Culture?
Successful organizations thrive on alignment. Their culture, their strategy and their talent are all in ordered harmony. If any of these three pillars of success are askew, there is performance danger ahead.
What Happens when There Is a Misaligned Culture
Our organizational alignment research found that strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing organizations. When there is a breach in the corporate culture, the entire company suffers. Just think of Volkswagen’s culture with their emissions fraud or Wells Fargo’s sales culture with their fake account scandal.
The lawsuits and the stain on their reputations will continue for years.
Seven Danger Signs of a Misaligned Culture
While the majority of executives know workplace culture is extremely important to the performance of their organization, too many believe their culture is a barrier to executing their growth plans. Here are seven warning signs that you may have a misaligned culture:
1. Leadership Does Not Model the Desired Culture
Workplace culture begins at the top. If the CEO is out of sync with the desired culture, employees will notice. Employees tend to adopt behaviors that are successful, modeled and rewarded.
2. Senior Executives Are Inaccessible
When employees feel out of touch with business leaders either because leaders are unapproachable or too alike in their thinking, a positive organizational culture is hard to sustain. Openness and diversity add richness to solving problems, making decisions and forging new ground.
3. No Clear Cultural Link to Business Strategy
Strategy and culture, along with talent, are dependent upon one another. For example, a traditional, hierarchical culture cannot support an innovative, no-holds-barred strategy. Be clear about where you’re headed and how employees need to behave to get you there.
4. Behavioral Expectations Are Murky
If employees don’t understand what behaviors are expected and desired, how can they be blamed for behaving in a way that doesn’t fit? Make sure you talk about your desired culture frequently and that all employees are clear about how they are to act on the job day-to-day.
5. Employee Engagement Is Low
Employee engagement should be regularly measured. If your employee engagement scores are below industry standards, you need to identify what is wrong.
6. Lack of Rewards and Recognition for Behaving “Right”
If there is no encouragement for doing the right things the right way, employees are apt to make less of an effort to follow the desired company culture. Find a way to recognize and reward employees who exemplify the desired culture. Others will follow.
7. The Customer Is Not Well Understood
Have you identified your target customers? Have you checked how satisfied they are? It is far easier to grow existing business than to attract and win new customers. Check out the customer process from beginning to end. You will learn what to do to delight them and these actions will strengthen your competitive edge.
The Bottom Line
Smart leaders know strategy must go through culture to be fully executed. High performing companies make sure they do not have a misaligned culture.
To learn more about creating an aligned and high performance culture, download 3 Levels of a High Performance Culture
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