5 Research-Backed Characteristics of a Successful Culture

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What Are The Characteristics of a Successful Culture?
The characteristics of a successful culture can be described in one word – SUCCESS.  All companies want their organizational culture to help them to succeed.  Success may be defined in various ways according to the situation but in the corporate world, success is generally defined by some combination of:

  • Healthy growth and profits
  • Satisfied and loyal customers
  • Engaged and high performing employees
  • Innovative and meaningful products and services

So what role does corporate culture play in helping companies to be successful?

The Definition of Corporate Culture
Before we list the characteristics of a successful culture, let’s start with a clear definition of workplace culture.  We define corporate culture as “The Way” things truly get done in an organization based upon how people think, behave and work on a day-to-day basis.

The Origins of Corporate Culture
In theory, organizational culture can start from anywhere – an individual, a team, or an informal or formal leader.  In practice, organizational culture is often created by the original founder and early leaders and then spread through visions, missions, values, communications, strategies and philosophies.

Over time, behavior patterns and practices that repeatedly work and are rewarded tend to become a strong part of the culture.   Things that have negative consequences and that are less successful personally and professionally tend to shrink and disappear from the culture over time.

The Impact of Corporate Culture on Business Success
When aligned with a clear and compelling business strategy, strong cultures can drive incredible results. Our latest organizational alignment research found that characteristics of a successful culture account for 40% of the difference between high and low growth companies.

Five Research-Backed Characteristics of a Successful Culture
Culturally, what does it take to achieve success? In companies with highly aligned corporate cultures, employees:

  1. Clarity: Clearly understand the desired corporate culture
  2. Modeling: Frequently observe the majority of leaders modeling the desired culture
  3. High Performance: Regularly feel the culture motivates top performance
  4. Information Flow: Repeatedly receive timely information across the company
  5. Decision-Making: Continually believe decisions demonstrate a healthy short- and long- term balance

When these five characteristics of a successful culture are aligned with both business and talent strategies, companies grow 58% faster and are 72% more profitable while significantly outperforming their unaligned peers in terms of:

  • Retaining customers 2.23-to-1
  • Satisfying customers 3.2-to-1
  • Effectively leading 8.71-to-1
  • Engaging employees 16.8-to-1

The Bottom Line
Organizational culture matters…it matters a lot. The way things get done has an enormous influence on how an organization reacts to the ever-changing business environment and pressures. So crunch your numbers, design your strategy, hire the right folks but don’t neglect the role of culture.

As a leader, it could make or break your dreams of success.

To learn about how to align your culture with your strategy, download How To Create a Purposeful and Aligned Culture

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