Who Owns Corporate Culture?
Our organizational alignment research found that corporate culture accounts for 40% of the difference between high and low performing companies in terms of revenue growth, profitability, customer loyalty, and employee engagement. If you are unhappy with the culture at your organization, what can you do to influence it? Who owns corporate culture at your company and will have the greatest impact on creating higher levels of performance?
Do leaders own corporate culture or does the workforce?
The Definition of Corporate Culture
We define corporate culture as the way work truly gets done on a day-to-day basis. Smart leaders know that your culture exists by either design or default. In other words, in every organization there is a combination of assumptions and behaviors that define the collective attitude of a company’s workforce.
In some organizations this combination has been carefully crafted over time to best execute a coherent strategy; in others it has reactively evolved without purposeful alignment.
Everyone Owns Corporate Culture
We believe that both leaders and employees should own the culture of their organization. They just have different roles and responsibilities.
Leaders and Corporate Culture
Perhaps leaders have the most power to design, shape and align a corporate culture that matters. Since leaders are responsible for setting the strategic direction, they are also responsible for ensuring that the way the strategic direction gets carried out on a day-to-day basis – your culture – is fully aligned. Because strategy must go through culture to get fully implemented, leaders must assess and create cultural alignment.
Otherwise, the corporate strategy is just wishful thinking.
Beyond setting up the cultural “way” to support and accelerate a particular business strategy, leaders need to understand their critical role as models of the desired behaviors. The way leaders act each and every day has a greater influence on their employees than they may realize. Whether they know it or not, leaders are in a fishbowl.
The workforce is always watching. If a leader’s behavior is out of line with the culture they espouse, you can be sure the leader’s behavior, rather than the desired culture, is the one that will win out. Leaders need to understand that the amount of energy they focus on culture will determine how important it appears to employees.
Modifying and aligning culture is difficult. It takes a sustained and consistent effort over time.
Employees and Corporate Culture
So where do employees fit into organizational culture? They need to take culture one step beyond the example and commitment of leaders. Employees need to monitor and own their culture – often by helping to create corporate values. They need to live and breathe it in every choice they make.
If, for instance, leadership has determined that the company culture needs to support more decentralized decision making to best execute their strategy, employees (and their bosses) need to make sure they have the knowledge, skills, and beliefs to make effective decisions when it matters most.
The Bottom Line
Organizational culture matters. It is the glue between your strategy and your people. Sustainable and high performing cultures are the responsibility of both leaders and employees. Culture should be shaped by leaders and employees in concert in a way that is aligned with your corporate strategy.
To learn more about creating a high performance and purposeful culture, download The 3 “C’s” that Create High Performance Cultures
4 Keys to Keeping Talent Up to Date
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SPO Partners & Co
Kim Silva, CFO
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Michelle A. Mitchell
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I had been working with LSA for many years with my prior company. Currently, I’m with a company who hadn’t done much basic management skills training. After identifying and presenting a program recently, our managers are excited and talking in the halls about the great experience. LSA saves us time in delivering the right training for our needs.
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.
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I have worked with LSA Global at previous companies and welcomed the opportunity to bring them in to support my new organization. We worked closely with LSA to design a solution for our Client Partner Teams and Management Training on both coasts. LSA designed a customized solution for our business and organizational culture. LSA is a quality organization, one that I’d recommend to any company looking for a first class training and consulting partner that makes an impact.
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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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LSA’s customized Effective Presentation Skills program has helped me elevate my presentation skills to the next level. I now have a much greater self-awareness of my presentation skills and can leverage off of my strengths while working to improve upon other areas. I would definitely recommend this solution to anyone for whom business presentations are an integral part of their job.
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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.
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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.
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Vice President of Human Resources
LSA helped us design and deliver a blended learning solution for our leaders to help drive our growth plans in a way that aligned with our specific culture and values. LSA understood our business, had deep expertise in the content areas, tailored the programs to fit our specific needs, and delivered great results. They constantly strive to deliver business impact and align their solutions with our business initiates, culture, and performance management systems. I highly recommend them to anyone looking to take their leaders to the next level.”
Beth A. Taylor
Vice President of Human Resources
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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