What Corporate Culture Is
Do you know how to design a high performance culture? Culture is your organization’s unique approach to how it executes strategy. If strategy is “what” you want to accomplish and “why”, then culture is “how” you execute it on a day-to-day basis.
For example, let’s say your organization wants to grow market share by 10% to meet growth targets. To accomplish this, what approach to the market should your organization take? Should it be more of a market adopter, focused on improving existing offerings (like KIA)? Or should it be more of a market leader, creating brand new offerings (like Tesla)?
The answer informs “how” the employees of the organization collectively drive strategy execution in terms of market approach. Because strategy must go through people and culture to get implemented, choices like this represent your organization’s culture.
What Corporate Culture Is NOT
Corporate culture is NOT about having fun. Every workplace and office should have fun, but it doesn’t make your organization unique. Culture is NOT about corporate values. Values are important, but almost every organization in a 10-mile radius probably shares the majority of your corporate values. Culture is also NOT about employee engagement. Engaged employees are critical, but employee engagement is simply an aspect of organization health.
The point is that none of these set your organization apart from others. Everyone wants to have fun, be value-driven, and have highly-engaged colleagues. Organizational health is a just a ticket to play the game. But your workplace culture is your organization’s unique approach to “how” work gets done – it’s what makes your organization different from all others.
Culture is how things are truly accomplished in your organization and can be measured by understanding the way people think, behave and work. Our organizational alignment research found that cultural factors account for 40% of the difference between high and low performing companies in terms of revenue growth, profitability, customer loyalty, and employee engagement.
Don’t Build Your Corporate Culture – Manage It
The good news is that your corporate culture already exists. Your workplace culture (“how”) emerged as soon as the organization had strategic goals (“what”) to pursue. The bad news is that most leaders don’t know how to measure and manage their culture in a strategically purposeful way.
4 Steps to Design a High Performance Culture
How leaders define and shape their corporate culture however can make or break their strategies. To align your culture with your strategy:
The Bottom Line
Cultural alignment is about ensuring that your culture helps, not hinders, strategy execution. Done right, your culture should create a unique competitive advantage. To achieve a high performing culture, you do need to proactively measure and shape it. Are you aligned?
To learn more about how to design a high performance culture, download The 3 Levels of a High Performance Culture that You Must Get Right
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