Is Your Corporate Culture Good or Bad?

Picture of people rating Corporate Culture Good or Bad

Corporate Culture Good or Bad?
Smart leaders know if their corporate culture is good or bad.  Why?  Because they know culture accounts for 40% of the difference between high and low performing organizations.

Corporate Culture Defined
Corporate culture is the set of beliefs or practices that are characteristic of a certain group of people. Over time, cultures develop because they are useful for success and survival.

  • For example, early studies of African, Eskimo and Native American societies revealed ways of living that were not only different from western societies, but were also very different from each other.
  • It was found that each population had its own unique way of adapting, surviving and thriving together.
  • These traits were passed from one generation to the next because they are believed to be useful for survival and adaptation.

The same is true in business.

Corporate Culture Good or Bad Defined
Culture in the corporate world is not all that different from general culture. We define culture as “The Way” things get done within an organization. Every company and team has its own unique way of doing things.

  • “The Way” endures because it makes sense to the people of the organization.
  • “The Way” represents smart and proven strategies for success and survival that have worked well in the past and should work well in the future.

Some aspects of corporate culture are very easy to see – i.e. how people dress, when they show up to work, how they treat customers.  Other facets of corporate culture good or bad are harder to observe because they represent assumptions, values and core beliefs.

The Impact of Culture in Business Performance
Regardless of whether the cultural attributes are observable or not, they matter.  Our latest organizational alignment research found that cultural factors account for 40% of the difference between high and low growth companies.  Additionally, your corporate culture will evolve whether you like it or not.

Shape Your Corporate Culture for Success
Only you as leader have the ultimate power and influence to shape it…for good or for bad. The message? Decide what kind of culture will support your business strategy and then take steps to make it happen.

For example, if you are a business that needs to depend on innovation (e.g. Apple), you need to shape a workplace culture that has characteristics that encourage creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. You want employees who are:

  • Not constrained by “rules” and who like to dream
  • Looking for “new and better”
  • Not afraid of failure
  • Learn from mistakes
  • Experiment and re-work ideas

If you are a business that, instead, needs to depend on productivity (e.g. UPS), you need to shape a workplace culture that is efficient and predictable. You want employees who are:

  • Dependable
  • The very best at their job
  • Thrive on competition
  • Not content with anything less than perfection
  • Loyal to the company because the company is loyal to them

The Bottom Line
While corporate cultures can be healthy or unhealthy, we do not believe workplace cultures are good or bad. We believe corporate cultures are aligned or unaligned with their business strategy.  Once you have clarified your business strategy, you need to explicitly align your culture with your plans for success.

To learn more about aligning your culture, download The 3 Levels of Aligning Your Corporate Culture to Accelrate Your Strategy

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