Contrary to traditional thinking, corporate culture is in a constant state of change. The drivers of cultural change are the same as the drivers of organizational change. There are many but the big five change drivers are:
- Mergers & Acquisition – combining two or more organizations to exceed the sum of their individual successes by adopting the best of each for the merged organization
- Growth – integrating new people, processes, and technologies for serving a growing customer base with a positive and supportive employee experience
- Products and Services – introducing new/improved solutions for solving customer issues
- Leaders – the desire to make a positive impact by doing things their way
- Competition – the relentless pursuit of organization effectiveness to be best in its field
In the past five years global leaders have come to recognize that a strong corporate culture is the secret sauce behind engaging their employees in keeping pace with the changes brought about by these change drivers. They also understand that each one of the change drivers causes a natural conflict of cultures, which is good if managed appropriately. It is this conflict which allows the leaders to get involved with shaping corporate culture toward the desired outcome. Left unattended or ignored by the organization, these culture differences often lead to subcultures and cliques which are not in the organization’s best interests and will eventually erode the existing corporate culture.
Managing or shaping corporate culture has become one of the primary responsibilities of an organization’s leadership. Unfortunately, most organizations don’t know how to shape corporate culture to achieve its desired goals. Rarely, if ever, does it show up on a position description or is it mentioned in a performance review, but is the most important factor for engaging people with the organization’s success and adding to its value.
The past twenty-five years of working with organizations going through change has led to five major revisions to our methodologies. Endurant 5.0 Shaping Corporate Culture now includes these suggestions for aligning your culture with the organization’s goals:
- Define the characteristics of the desired culture for the organization
- Complete an assessment of the current culture
- Identify the key factors impacting the desired culture
- Initiate a culture program that demonstrates the leaders’ authenticity and involvement in the organization’s culture
- Establish events to recognize and reward cultural progress and successes
Organizations that value their culture recognize that their culture is under constant attack by the same drivers of organizational change. They are adopting these suggestions or a version of them as the basis for their processes to ensure that their cultures are consistent with their business goals on an ongoing basis. These processes allow them to control and shape the subcultures rather than having them erode into values that compete with the corporate culture. In great companies these processes are embedded in the responsibilities of the leaders/managers as a means of engaging the employees with the organization.
This isn’t easy for most organizations. Few provide training in this area and there are very few places offering teaching/coaching on the practical side of shaping corporate culture. The pressure of meeting the day-to-day commitments is often more than enough to consume the available hours of the leaders and management team. However, for great organizations shaping corporate culture has become one of the primary responsibility of the CEO, president, COO, CMO, or the CHRO.
Next: Human Resources, the Corporate Culture Cop