5 Research-Backed Characteristics of a Successful Culture

5 Research-Backed Characteristics of a Successful Culture
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What Are The Characteristics of a Successful Culture at Work?

The characteristics of a successful culture at work can be described in one word — SUCCESS.  All companies want their organizational culture to help them to succeed for their business and their people.

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

The Definition of Corporate Culture
Before we list the characteristics of a successful culture at work, 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 company vision, mission, and values statements combined with corporate practices, policies, processes, structures, communications, strategies, and philosophies.

Over time, behavior patterns and practices that repeatedly work and are rewarded tend to become cultural norms.   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 performing companies in terms of revenue growth, profitability, customer loyalty, leadership effectiveness, and employee engagement.

Five Research-Backed Characteristics of a Successful Culture
Culturally, what does it take to achieve success? Based upon data from when we assess organizational cultures, in companies with highly healthy, high performing, and aligned corporate cultures, employees:

  1. Have Clarity
    They clearly understand the strategic priorities and desired corporate culture
  2. See Modeling
    They consistently observe the majority of leaders, influencers, and high performers modeling the desired culture
  3. Deliver High Performance
    They regularly feel the culture motivates top performance at the individual, team, and organizational levels
  4. Have the Information They Need
    They repeatedly receive timely information across the company
  5. Make Good Decisions
    They continually believe decision making demonstrates a healthy short- and long-term balance

The Bottom Line
Your strategy must go through your culture and your people to be successfully implemented. The way things get done has an enormous influence on how an organization reacts to changes and pressures. So design your strategies and hire the right people — but don’t neglect the critical role of culture in making it happen.

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

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