Organization culture eats strategy for breakfast, lunch and dinner
The benefits of building a strong organizational culture, one that is firmly based upon the strategy of the company, can´t be argued. I think you all might have heard the phrase: “Organization culture eats strategy for breakfast, lunch and dinner…” I just feel the urge to point this out one more time so that we don’t forget it. So, that we don’t continue to build on our strategies, but at the same time forget the people and the culture, the elements that can either be used to advance, or will prevent the strategy from being implemented.
A lot of studies have been made about the fact that companies with a good strong culture have higher productivity, make better profits, have less employee turnover, less absenteeism and fewer safety incidents, among others. I would personally also add that when culture is lead and understood it will be easier to recruit the right and competent people for the company. It will also most definitely be easier to lead people who will take responsibility and work according to the set culture, values and beliefs. And one more important fact is that when we build cultures that are fair, rewarding and encouraging we will give a place for the entrepreneurial attitude and inner motivation of the employees to blossom.
Ways of building a strong company culture
There are many ways of building a strong company culture which will be based on the strategy. As I have mentioned earlier in my blogs, it is of great importance to dig deep to understand the current culture of the company, and to also use some time on setting the goals for the prospected culture. One thing I urge you to take into consideration when you want to build your culture, is to be consistent. With this I mean for instance the following. If you want things to be done together, in teams and in collaboration you cannot focus only on individual performance and compensation. Another example would be: if you want customer service to be particularly service minded there is no point in trying to teach people to be nice and service minded incase the communication inside the company is disrespectful and aggressive in its tone. You must see the culture for what it is and build supporting procedures and actions to enhance wanted and expected behavior.
There should not be a difference in the way we talk about our values and beliefs, the way we say we get things done and between the way that things really are.
Internal mentors - cultural change agents
Now, when all this has been taken into consideration it´s time to start building. One of many ways to begin is to use internal mentors as cultural change agents. The benefits of building a network of mentors and actors are many. Even if the focus would be on leading the culture the outcome of mentoring, for the individual, is so much more. Some of the feedback during the years, about this subject, has been that the mentors feel they finally have time to reflect. When a person has time to reflect about how they work and what they feel they are good at, and what can be changed, the outcome can only be positive. Routines are good to have, don´t get me wrong, but when they become all-consuming we are not able to see new ways to act or we don’t feel the need to innovate or question things. We just move forward as we are used to. What new comes out of that? Reflecting about your job also makes you feel proud because we don’t usually take time to see what we have accomplished.
Some perks regarding mentoring are that it will provide internal motivation for both actors and mentors. It will also speed up personal development and the sharing of internal networks will make cooperation easier. Additionally, the silent knowledge of competent employees is noticed and can also be used by far more people. Beneficial for the mentoring process would be that it is lead. When we want to incorporate the cultural aspect in the mentoring I suggest training both mentors and actors. They will need to know what it is all about, and what it is not. Also, when planning the training for the mentors, the cultural strategy is easy to implement as one component in the overall training. It will also give room for the mentors (managers in the company) to focus on discussing and building common values and beliefs that rely on the cultural strategy. At this point the journey has begun.
I challenge You to develop your cultural strategy and wish you all the best with leading your cultural change!
Kirjoittaja: Catharina Kallio