What are the steps in defining the ideal culture for your business?
When it comes to organizational culture, Leaders often make the same complaints: “But that’s so amorphous, so intangible, so tough to get my hands around. I’d rather focus on other things.”
Culture is where it all begins – and ironically where it all it all ends. The most common factor in M&A failures? Cultural misalignment. What separates a great company from a mediocre competitor when both are doing the same thing? Culture. A cultivated culture, embraced top to bottom, aligns actions and company goals faster and better than any other method.
But what exactly is corporate culture? We like the definition from Entrepreneur’s online encyclopedia: “A blend of the values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals and myths all companies develop over time.”
This sounds great – if you’re an anthropologist. But what does it mean to you? Cultural dimensions answer important questions like, what do we wear? How are we rewarded? What is considered appropriate behavior? Can I bring my dog to work? Culture also identifies the compelling sagas that motivate us to achieve great things and the rituals that bind us. If your organization does not have these elements, isn’t it time you started creating them?
The first step is defining the ideal business culture for your company. Ask yourself:
– What behaviors drive strategic performance?
– What do you want your core values to be?
– What do you want it to feel like to work for your company?
– What type of people do you want to attract?
Take time to think about these questions. Does your company already exemplify some of your answers? The culture of your company must fit your strategy for success. Modeling the corporate culture is a critical step to enhancing your bottom line. Do not leave it up to chance.
Originally written for To Each His Own, by Eric Miller and Don Schmincke in September 2013 issue of SmartCEO Magazine.