Corporate culture is alive and well! No longer a “nice to have”, executives around the globe know that a defined, purposeful culture is an imperative for business success. In fact, in 2015 executives acknowledged the critical relationship between culture and employee engagement as the number 1 global talent issue, with the vast majority of those executives (87%) making this issue a top priority to be addressed.
A great leader once taught me that “you can always choose your actions but you can’t always choose your consequences.” In other words, we are always accountable for our actions, from completing mundane routines, to resolving complex issues, to our interactions with colleagues and clients. Our actions, or lack thereof, have an organizational impact and consequence for which we are ultimately accountable.
We have previously discussed the importance of assessing the health of an organization, especially as you head into a new year, which usually brings new strategic objectives from executive management. As discussed, in The Implementation Phase, it is important to organize the accumulated individual and team task assessments from the year-end performance review process to create an organizational snapshot. The organizational snapshot will tell you where you are now and where you need to go. It will form the basis for your human capital strategy alignment.
Standing on the edge of the district’s swimming pool as a timer, I am struck with the distinctive cultures and activity of the four results-driven high school teams preparing to compete. The diverse groups of athletes mill about in excitement, and complete their warm-ups as they envision themselves competently executing their strokes in the upcoming individual and team events.
Whether it is a start-up to growth company, or a long-lived, multi-national organization with tens of thousands of employees, organizations can easily lose sight of which Roles are truly ‘Strategic’ to their strategy and which Competencies are absolutely required to perform the Role successfully. Organizations are so focused on developing the ideas to differentiate themselves, they don’t have the time, or take the time, to make sure that the Roles, and their related Competencies, and the people performing within those Roles, are the right people…with the right skills…to do that job, based on the strategy and culture that management has set forth.
Generally, Executive Management has a company strategy for the organization they are managing…or at least we hope they do! However, issues arise when that company strategy needs to be disseminated throughout the organization for all to understand and drive forward.
Walk into any Apple retail store and you will experience the distinctive culture that is Apple – you know it when you are experiencing it. It is almost visceral.
In general, culture is a rich mixture of distinct values, common heritage, ideology, social norms and a history of unique shared experiences. It is the force that unites and aligns people with an identity and purpose.