In order for a company to thrive, strategy is important, but a culture that attracts, retains and engages employees is essential.
I am sure you have heard of the saying, “Culture trumps Strategy”. It does every time. Studies and surveys have proven so. In a recent survey conducted by the Katzenbach Center, over 2,000 business leaders’ were questioned about corporate culture and change. Over 80% of the respondents said culture was critical to business success; over 60% said having a great, sustaining culture is more important than strategy or operating model; and over half indicated their cultures were not effectively managed or it needed a major overhaul.
I recently attended a briefing hosted by Helios HR (www.helioshr.com) where three business leaders spoke about how they have built a culture of intention that positively impacted their employee experience and business performance. Michael Frohm, COO of Goodwill Industries spoke passionately about how he and the CEO led a crusade to positively change their corporate culture. The team started by defining it’s vision and mission and they identified the company’s core values.
Once they agreed on the values, they defined the specific behaviors and actions that aligned with each value and then communicated it to the rest of the organization and then embedded these into the overall processes of the organization that included selection, evaluating, promoting and engaging their talent. The business results and impact Goodwill have made with their local communities have been impressive. The COO contributes their success to building a culture of intention.
What is your culture like? Is it effectively managed and integrated into the overall processes of your organization? Does it need a major overhaul?
What can you do as a leader to impact your culture?
Recognize that culture trumps strategy and take action to create, improve or change it. Include your leadership team on this journey.
Recognize that as a leader, YOU determine the intended culture. I like the saying “leaders determine the weather around here”. What is your weather like within your department or organization? Is it what you want to help you get to where you want to go? If not, take an honest assessment of what your present culture or weather is in your organization. Have an honest and transparent conversation with your team about your current and desired culture.
Identify the core values that exemplify your intended culture. This can be done several ways. I help leadership teams identify their core values by using Value Cards which offer you and your team a creative way to engage in activities and conversations about values. You can also use the suggestion offered by author Gino Wickman in his book TRACTION. Select 5-10 core values, define them and identify specific behaviors and actions for each value.
Communicate and share these values with the rest of the organization. Provide context; why they are important and how the team will hold each other and staff accountable.
Embed the values in your company policies and processes to include selection, hiring, developing, promoting and transitioning talent, compensation systems and performance management.
As a leader you determine the culture or weather in your department and organization. What is your culture like? Is it one that enables your team and organization to thrive? If not, change it, involve others and build the culture you want.
Culture trumps Strategy every time!