There Are Far Too Many Misconceptions about Corporate Culture
Too many leaders have far too many misconceptions about corporate culture. If you believe, as we do, that a healthy, purposeful and aligned corporate culture is what sets a company apart, you should be committed to promoting a culture that works.
Why Culture Matters To Your People and Your Business
We define culture as how things truly get done in an organization. Culture includes the known and unspoken values and assumptions that drive key business practices and behaviors – especially in leaders and in who they hire, fire and promote.
Culture Exists by Design or By Default
But you can’t just magically wish an organizational culture into place. A corporate culture exists either by design or by default. It evolves from the way employees treat each other and can be measured by the way people think, behave and work. An aligned culture can have a significant impact on your bottom line. But you must go about it the right way.
The Top 5 Misconceptions about Corporate Culture
Here are the five top misconceptions about corporate culture that you should know.
1. Culture is NOT Just About Fun
Sure, people like to enjoy their work and have fun with their co-workers. Fun can be a wonderful part of a strong corporate culture, but what really matters and what keeps employees happy about coming to work each day is a more important and lasting and more purposeful attribute…like innovation, or authenticity, or service, or quality.
2. Culture is NOT Just About Perks
Perks like free dry cleaning and gourmet cafeterias are certainly appealing. They quantifiably add to the “plus” column when employees evaluate their levels of employee engagement. But unless those perks are connected to a core belief, they lose both value and appeal over time.
External expressions of a culture alone don’t retain employees; a sense of purpose that underlies the organization does.
3. Culture is NOT Just a Nice-to-have
Culture matters to the bottom line. A positive culture engages employees and reduces turnover. People want to identify with a company that has a strong culture and positive brand. Engagement is symptomatic of high morale and high morale translates into high retention rates.
The opposite is expensive. You pay the price of low retention in higher expenses and performance gaps.
3. Culture is NOT Just About Behaviors and Values
This trips up even the most passionate culture practitioners. Yes, behaviors and values are an important ingredient for a healthy corporate culture. Every organization wants to be healthy. We define cultural health, the little “c” of culture, as how values are lived consistently across the organization.
Those values manifest themselves in observable behaviors. We believe that organizational health is necessary for success regardless of industry, geography or size. We measure seven characteristics of organizational health in the areas of:
We also believe that organizational health can be measured on a “good” to “bad” scale. Organizational health however, is just the ticket to play the game and one component of the cultural fabric.
The differentiating impact comes from the big “C” of culture in terms of its level of alignment with the corporate strategy. A purposeful and aligned culture is the secret sauce -the DNA of an organization – that determines success or failure. A purposeful and aligned culture means that teams are operating with the same objectives in mind, and approaching those objectives in the same way.
Because strategy must go through culture to produce results, how the company culturally views areas like customer intimacy, market leadership, focus, risk tolerance, process variation and decision making plays a key role in strategy execution. Unlike the little “c” of culture, the big “C” of culture is not measured on a “good” to “bad” scale. It is measured on a “aligned” to “unaligned” scale in terms of its ability to drive the strategy forward in a way that makes sense.
Remember that a high performing culture is about both the little “c” (health) and the big “C” (alignment).
4. Culture is NOT Just Defined by Employees
Employees reflect the company values articulated and modeled by the organization’s leadership. Culture flows from the top. In companies where leaders understand this, they work to define their mission, what is unique about their organization and how they will treat each other on the path toward their business goals.
Leaders can purposefully design the underlying values and assumptions that drive key business practices and behaviors across the strategic dimensions that matter most. As a leader, recognize how much organizational culture matters and be thoughtful about how you shape and cultivate it to move your strategy forward.
The Bottom Line
Too many leaders have far too many misconceptions about corporate culture. A healthy, high performing and aligned corporate culture is what sets a company apart. Do not fall pray to these four misconceptions about corporate culture if you want to outperform your peers.
To learn more about defining an aligned and high performing culture, download How to Build a Purposeful and Aligned Corporate Culture.
How to Sell Value versus Price
7 Threats to a Positive Company Culture
We partnered with LSA to pilot a customized behavioral interviewing program to help ensure that we continue to hire the best and brightest as we continue to rapidly scale. LSA’s ability to understand our business and our unique culture combined with their desire to ensure that the best practices framework truly fits our performance environment and is highly adopted by our people is a real blessing. Most other firms want to just ‘give you training.’ Not LSA, they are focused on helping me hit our hiring forecasts and attract A players.
Director of Global Recruiting
We signed up with LSA early on–as their 22nd Member! Since then, our organization’s learning needs have increased and decreased and increased again with the changing times. The beauty of the LSA business model is its flexibility…when we needed to supplement our own internal resources, we used LSA services knowing that we could depend on the outstanding quality of the leadership development and management training programs they provide.
SeaTel has found our partnership with LSA Global to be very valuable and beneficial. We turned to LSA to customize a supervisory/leadership solution to meet our needs. LSA delivered a customized top quality solution. I’d recommend LSA Global to any company looking for a best-in-class training and consulting partner.
Hyperion has a commitment to lifelong learning. LSA helps us provide the right business sales training, management training programs, and leadership development programs at the right time to meet the needs of both individuals and departments. I especially appreciate their ability to listen to my needs and recommend the appropriate facilitators, solutions and content.
Senior Project Manager
LSA helped to meet the needs of my teams within a very narrow timeframe. My team walked away with highly useful management tools and practices. LSA saved us time in delivering the right solution for our specific needs.
Director, Software Engineering, EPG
Over the years, both at 3Com and now at Redback, I’ve found LSA Global to be a valuable resource. The recent compliance program that they delivered for Redback’s executive and management team was the right solution, of the highest of quality, and customized to our business and culture. I would highly recommend LSA to any company looking for top quality solutions.
Vice President of Human Resources
I consistently look to LSA Global when I need custom programs put together for my client groups. I can always count on LSA to do a thorough needs analysis and to put together spectacular programs that are well received. Their management development and performance management expertise and professionalism make them one of my top-rated learning and development partners.
HR Program Manager
LSA has become the gold standard in team building and management training at Genomic Health! I have a hard time finding facilitators that come close to their level of customization, expertise and experience.
Director of Human Resources
LSA provided top notch solutions right when and how we needed them. They exceeded my expectations from a speed, quality, and cost standpoint. I recommend them to anyone looking for a true business partner in the Learning and Development arena. The breadth and depth of their expertise has helped us hit tight deadlines across multiple projects.
Fortune 500 Financial Services Company
Director of Infrastructure & Technology
We contacted LSA to help us with customized management development. LSA worked with me to identify a solution that would meet our exact needs. We decided to start at the top and ran the program for our executive team. It was such a great success that we hope to roll it out companywide. We look forward to a long-term partnership with LSA Global and their team of experts.
Barry L. Byrd, SPHR
Human Resources Manager
We partnered with LSA Global to help us invest in our people in the areas of performance coaching, diversity, and inclusion. They focused on helping us succeed and were very flexible in meeting our specific needs. LSA Global exceeded my expectations from a speed, quality, and value standpoint. I would recommend LSA Global to anyone looking for a true business partner.
Director, Human Resources
LSA Global’s consultant brought a fresh perspective to our behavioral based interviewing strategy for two key executive positions we needed to fill, and their consultant helped us develop questions that produced a much deeper understanding of candidates’ capabilities. I am confident that the two new executives joining our organization have the right skills to add significant value. Throughout the process LSA was also very responsive in dealing with short lead time requests.
Because of the unique nature of our business, Excel is a core application in our accounting organization. After three attempts to find an Excel consultant who is capable of helping our finance team integrate advanced applications into our work processes we found LSA and Alex. He was not only a “Real” Excel expert but was masterful in helping us identify where to use Excel applications in our processes to increase our group’s efficiency.
SPO Partners & Co
Kim Silva, CFO
We have worked with LSA Global for our learning and development needs and have always had great success. They helped us recently with customized Management Workshops that we held for the second time. It was fantastic, and I would highly recommend LSA to anyone that is attempting to get immediate and impactful improvements.
HR Manager, BU Radiology Informatics
The refreshing thing about LSA is that they focus on understanding our business situation and helping me succeed instead of selling a product. With over 150 experts, they are an invaluable resource that helps me deliver higher quality results faster. I recommend them to anyone looking to improve the performance of their workforce.
VP of Human Resources
LSA has been a tremendous asset to my portfolio, both at my current company and my past company. As an HR leader, I am always looking for ways to find external resources that can provide a solution to our management training needs. LSA does that for me. Their solutions are presented in a much more leadership-oriented manner so as to be crisp, business relevant, and easy to apply right back on the job. I will continue to augment our programs using LSA solutions.
VP of Human Resources
Download key published insights and tools from industry experts highlighting best practices in the areas of talent, strategy and culture.
Want to know how you stack up against leading organizations? Receive a complimentary benchmarking analysis courtesy of an LSA Expert.
Get up to speed on timely solutions critical to your business. Published by LSA Experts based upon client feedback and key industry trends.
First we identify the key metrics you want to improve. Then we assemble a dedicated team of elite experts who have successfully solved similar problems with similar clients.
Stay up to do date with the latest information on how we help high growth companies align their culture and talent with strategy.
Real world consulting and training approaches from LSA projects, providing insights on how your company can outperform the competition.