3 Leadership Tips to Establish Your Culture

A businesswoman adjusts a compass to show how to establish your culture

Culture Defines Your Company
Establish your culture!  When we ask experienced leaders what matters most, 7-out-of-10 say “Establish your culture.”  Companies can be defined by their leaders, by their products, by their services, by their industry, or even by their performance, but culture touches everything.

The Definition of Workplace Culture
Corporate culture is the environment that pervades and defines each and every working day. Culture is the way things truly get done on a day-to-day basis. Culture is the way employees think, behave and work and includes the known and unspoken values and assumptions that drive key practices and behaviors.

Think of culture as the orienting point of a company’s internal compass…the collective attitude, assumptions, purpose and behaviors of a company’s workforce. It is a company’s true north.

A Healthy Culture Creates the Foundation for Success
Generally, if employees agree with and authentically participate in the culture, they are happy and engaged. If your workforce is out of sync with the way work gets done, they are less engaged and less productive. Some may even act as saboteurs.

Is Culture Just HR-Soft Stuff?
For those of you who are charged with achieving specific goals around an organization’s financials, does this sound a bit soft? Well it may sound that way. But here are some facts that should persuade you to take corporate culture very seriously:

  • Recent search by a group at Harvard proved that an effective culture can account for up to half of the difference in performance between organizations in the same industry.
  • Watson Wyatt reported that culturally aligned organizations return as much as 286% more value to stakeholders.
  • Our own organizational alignment research at over 400 companies across eight industries found that cultural factors account for 40% of the difference between high and low performing companies in terms of growth, profitability, customer satisfaction, customer retention, leadership effectiveness and employee engagement.

Indeed, culture matters.

Three Leadership Tips to Establish Your Culture
Here are three tips on how to enhance and establish your culture so it supports increased performance and accelerates your strategy:

1. Desired Behaviors
Identify the behaviors that support the desired culture and be sure that your leaders live them.

2.  Reinforcement Mechanisms
Set up a system that reinforces the desired behaviors at all levels in the organization and monitor performance so the right behaviors are regularly and transparently rewarded.

3.  Compelling Stories
Create narratives that emotionally connect with employees on why the behaviors matter and how they will propel the company, and its people, forward.

The Bottom Line
When you establish your culture…your true north…your people and your organization are on the road to success.

To learn more about how to establish your culture for high performance, download The 3 Levels of a High Performance Culture

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