The Culture Catch

The Culture Catch

Before you’re ready to talk about organizational culture, you must recognize what culture is not. Culture is more than a logo, mission statement or well-articulated values.  Culture is broader than your methodology of product development. Culture is more far-reaching than the strengths (and weaknesses) of your founder or even your unique value proposition. That’s not to say that all of these things cannot be influencers of culture. It is to say, however, that simply having these things, no matter how excellent, does not mean you can “check” corporate culture off your list. Culture is the living, breathing representation of your brand in action. It is dynamic, and as such it requires regular care and feeding.

Culture is Top-Down
Without exception, your senior leadership team is the strongest influencer of your company’s culture. When leaders fail to function as a team, it’s only a matter of time before dysfunction between their teams will emerge. To build and fortify culture in your organization you should begin at the C-level and invest in cultivating and rewarding the kinds of teamwork and outcomes that embody kind of company you want to be.

Fluff Fails
Annual meetings with elaborate team building, employee awards and even the most creative brainstorming formats imaginable will fall flat without follow-through. Consistency is the key to affecting change in the everyday. And the everyday is where true culture is birthed. Unless you put in the sweat equity to implement and measure and surface the outcomes on a regular basis, circling back to shared goals, your efforts won’t even penetrate the surface layer of enthusiasm. Employee response to strategy, planning and vision-casting is a great litmus test of where your organization falls on this spectrum. If you catch subtle eye-rolling and force enthusiasm, chances are that your missing important connection points aren’t cascading down in ways that affect lasting change.

Circle Back
Revisit, evaluate and communicate the results of organizational objectives. Where there is no vision, the people perish – and that’s also true of companies who have organizational ADD and are unable to lock-in priorities. Refocusing people toward ever-changing targets without circling back to talk about where you’ve been and what you’ve learned becomes a de-motivator.

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