Lasting Culture Change as a Competitive Advantage
Successful leaders recognize the power of a healthy corporate culture to bolster their success; they also understand how a negative corporate culture can undermine performance. Strong positive cultures accelerate desired change rather than hinder it. And with all the change required to keep up these days, organizational culture — how work gets done — can certainly be a company’s competitive advantage in terms of people and performance.
Foster Lasting Culture Change for Improved Performance
Want to achieve higher performance, better focus on your customers, and more consistent strategy execution? Follow the next five tenets for lasting culture change to improve all-round business and people performance:
Our organizational alignment research found that strategy and culture alignment accounts for 71% of the difference between high and low performing companies in terms of revenue growth, profitability, customer loyalty, and employee engagement.
We know the power of a strategy that outlines clear and compelling choices about where to play and what actions to take. Strategic clarity can set a company up to perform beyond just the sum of its parts. When it comes to performance however, strategy is only the beginning, not the end.
Some strong cultures help companies perform (i.e. Southwest Airlines) and some strong cultures hurt performance (i.e. The Department of Veterans Affairs).
Instead, as long as we are not talking about a toxic corporate culture, we have found that it’s far more effective to identify and honor the strengths of your existing culture. Look for the positive aspects of your culture; acknowledge and leverage them for an evolution toward desirable traits rather than a revolution.
First, poll your workforce and assess your current culture to know where you truly stand – not how you think you are doing. Next, engage the senior leadership team to agree upon what culture is needed to best execute your strategic priorities across ten research backed dimensions of an aligned culture. Finally, actively involve your managers, key influencers, and frontline employees to make the necessary shifts.
IT and reward systems that support the change are necessary of course; however, they are far more powerful when paired with good coaching, peer interactions, and meetings where the positive behaviors are recognized and appreciated.
The Bottom Line
If you neglect norms of your corporate culture as you undertake a major change initiative, you are asking for trouble. An aligned culture can accelerate and energize change; a misaligned culture can hinder the process and sustainability of the change that you seek. Are you creating lasting culture change at work?
To learn more about how to align your culture, download the 3 Research-Backed Levels of Culture to Get Aligned
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