Competitive Advantage through Culture – How to Create It

Getting a running start gives you a Competitive Advantage through Culture

The Competitive Advantage through Culture
Most business leaders talk a good game about wanting to create a high performance culture, but few fully understand how to create the environment to get the most out of their people in a way that accelerates their strategy.  They don’t know why or how they should create a competitive advantage through culture. The founder of Southwest Airlines, Herb Kelleher, said it best: “Everything [in our strategy] our competitors could copy tomorrow. But they can’t copy the culture—and they know it.”  That’s what keeps Southwest as a leader of the pack.

All well and good.  But how do you go about creating a true competitive advantage through culture?

The Definition of Corporate Culture
Culture is how things truly get done in an organization.  A high performance culture occurs when the unique beliefs and ways things get done at your company are understood, consistent and leveraged to best achieve your unique strategy.  In the strongest company cultures, employees act in ways that help, not hinder, the overall strategic agenda, even when no one is watching.

No Two Organizational Cultures are Alike
While many companies are similar, each is distinctive enough so that what works in one organization will not necessarily succeed in another.  The key is to determine what culture will be most effective in achieving your specific strategic priorities in your unique industry.  Will your business thrive with tight structures or flexible guidelines, emphasis on low costs or high quality, predictable products or innovation?  That is for you to decide.

The What
Culture may seem difficult to measure or to change, but the effort is worth it.  Our organizational alignment research found that an effective culture accounts for 40% of the differential in business performance between companies in areas such as revenue growth, profitability, customer retention and employee engagement.  Here are some of the attributes of high performing culture:

  • Organizational Health – Think of organizational health as the combination of behaviors and corporate values that are consistently lived across an organization. In general, organizations strive to be healthy, and people want to work in a healthy environment.  An organization must be healthy enough to set the stage for high performance; but health alone will not set you apart from your peers in terms of business results or talent management.
  • Performance Management – The next ingredient in creating a high performance culture is your performance environment. We believe that people change when their environment changes.  We also believe it is a leader’s job to create the circumstances to consistently get the most out of their people in a way that fits with the organization’s core values, behaviors and strategies through clear direction, transparent performance status, and aligned motivation that is meaningful.
  • Strategically Aligned Culture – The third, and often the least effectively used, ingredient required for building a high performing culture is the alignment of your culture with your strategy. The goal is to design a purposeful culture that is 100% aligned with moving your business priorities forward in areas such as customer intimacy, market approach, decision making, focus, operational variation, risk and results.

The Bottom Line
There is no underestimating the powerful impact of committed leaders to building a high performance culture that is aligned with strategic priorities.  The degree to which senior leaders model, encourage, and promote the desired behaviors to move your strategy forward is the measure of the success of your culture transformation.  Is your culture creating a competitive advantage?

To learn more about creating a competitive advantage through culture, download The 3 Levels of a High Performance Culture

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Blackhawk Network

What a personal and professional pleasure it has been to Partner with LSA. They are truly a strategic partner with Wyse. For more than 5 years, LSA has been engaged in delivering various training and development solutions for Wyse, from custom on-site programs targeting specific core competencies, to working individually with clients to build job skills, and offering invaluable services to me and my team as we continue to build our learning programs. LSA’s representatives do more than sell a product, they offer a full service solution: they understand our business, our strategic initiatives, and the needs of our customers.

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Here’s a token of my appreciation for ALL your efforts. I’m offering my most sincere appreciation, and it extends to all the folks who made our customized management development programs possible.

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LSA helped change our entire culture around meetings, making them more effective and efficient, thus enabling us to concentrate on driving more business.

Terry Wassman
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LSA’s Employee Engagement Consulting and Survey work has provided critical visibility into: how well our people are holding up under the general economic environment, as well as, the specific challenges that face biotechnology companies in their efforts to discover and develop new medicines; their level of alignment and commitment to XOMA’s Vision and mission critical strategies; how leadership practices and management systems support an environment that engender commitment, and the specific actions that our leaders can take to improve on areas that are important to our people. I highly recommend LSA’s employee engagement solutions.

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We consider LSA our true business partner in the areas of Learning and Organizational Development. From Strategic Planning to Presentation Skills and Management Training, they continue to provide excellent value and extremely high quality solutions – not just one time events. I recommend them to anyone looking to drive true business results.

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Harmonic has worked with LSA for over 8 years. We have found their partnership extremely beneficial. We recently implemented a Management Development Program that was designed and customized to support our company’s strategic initiative of hiring, building, and retaining key intellectual property and human talent. We worked closely with LSA to target and implement the right solutions with the greatest impact. I would recommend LSA to any company that’s looking for a trusted training and development partner.

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Director of Human Resources

The Next Generation Management Development courses have helped me communicate more effectively with my peers and teammates. By utilizing effective communication techniques such as clarifying and confirming, and asking open ended questions, I have been able to clarify and understand information in situations where I would have otherwise asked limited questions and made false assumptions.

Robert Breckner
Firmware Engineering Manager

In the Next Generation Management Development courses, I was trained with skills and tools that have made me and my team more productive, motivated, and successful at communicating with other departments.

 

Kevin Ashman
Firmware Engineering Supervisor

We engaged LSA to design and deliver a 6-month custom executive coaching program for a group of our key leaders. The focus of the program was to help a core group of senior leaders to leverage previous investments in management training, to ensure the engagement and retention of key employees, and to push critical strategic initiatives forward. Even with the high expectations of our senior people, LSA has completely exceeded our expectations. I would recommend them to anyone looking to create and implement a custom coaching methodology using proven tools to drive true change.

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We recently partnered with LSA Global to offer our Supervisors and Managers a customized two-day management training program. Everyone who attended said it was by far the best management training program they had ever attended. The content was rich and highly interactive. The case studies were relevant. Each participant walked away from the training much better equipped to lead their teams.

Jeff Coon
Director of Human Resources

We value our relationship with LSA Global. We came to LSA because we wanted to improve overall behavioral based interviewing capabilities of our managers to increase the probability of both hiring top talent and future leaders. LSA designed a highly customized solution for our business and culture. We are currently rolling out this solution to our leaders. I would highly recommend LSA Global as a top quality resource.

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In my years working with LSA, it seems like I’ve had a personal consultant at my fingertips to help me identify just the right solution to satisfy our needs. The entire LSA team has become a trusted friend of Actel — assuring we provide state-of-the-art learning to meet our complex, high-tech business and people needs.

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