CEO’s Role in Aligning Corporate Culture is Growing
The CEO’s role in aligning corporate culture to the strategy has never been more important. It’s hard to overstate the role of a CEO in the success of a company. The CEO has the ultimate responsibility (as in “the buck stops here”) for business success.
But few leaders fully understand the role the CEO can play in perhaps the most important aspect of a company’s overall performance — whether the workplace culture helps or hinders the strategic agenda.
What is Corporate Culture?
We define corporate culture as the way things get done on a day-to-day basis. It’s all about how employees think, behave and work. This includes the known and unspoken corporate values and assumptions that drive key business practices and behaviors — particularly in who leaders hire, fire, and promote.
In large part, organizational culture is set by its founder but company cultures evolve over time. The CEO has the platform as the most visible leader to shape the corporate culture that is so critical to an organization’s success or failure.
A Successful Workplace Culture
A recent Harvard Business School research report described how an effective culture can account for up to half of the differential in performance between organizations in the same business. And our own organizational alignment research found that cultural factors account for 40% of the difference between high and low growth companies.
Can there be a more powerful motivator for CEOs to get culture right?
What a CEO Can Do
Understanding the importance of a CEO’s Role in aligning corporate culture, here are four moves you can make as a CEO to shape your culture in a way that fuels your strategy:
Strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing CEOs. Is your strategy clear enough?
We have identified 10 research-backed dimensions that define the unique cultural attributes in terms of strategic alignment. Effective leaders shape their organizational culture in a way that drives the business strategy forward to its full potential across these cultural dimensions:
— Market Approach: from adopter to leader
— Customers: from transactional to intimate
— Loyalty: from individual to company
— Focus: from internal to external
— Risk Tolerance: from low to high
— Operational Approach: from low to high process variation
— Decision Making: from centralized to decentralized
— Information: from fact-based to intuition-based
— Atmosphere: from social to disciplined
— Results: from “the how” to “the what”
The Bottom Line
Because strategy must go through culture to get implemented, high performing leaders know that the CEO’s role in aligning corporate culture is a primary lever to peak performance. CEO’s are expected to chart the course for what matters most and how work should get done. Are your leaders doing enough as cultural leaders?
To learn more, download Do You have a High Performance Organizational Culture to Drive Your Strategy?
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