Why Does Your Company’s Culture Matter?
Is there a business, restaurant or a company’s service you frequent because you love what they stand for and you love referring them to others? This is what we would all want for our own organizations, isn’t it?
But how did those companies establish themselves and create a culture you and others, including employees, WANT to be a part of?
In the next few blog posts, I’d like to explore how leaders can help their teams do just this. And we can do so by using our blueprint to create a high-performing culture. In the end, this kind of culture will get better results and make work easier for everyone involved.
Even though each team and its members are unique, my blueprint for developing a high-performance culture can help any organization. Leaders can follow it to get their teams on track, and on board, with lasting changes to make their organizations even more successful.
As the team’s leader, it is your responsibility to create that culture.
What Is A Company’s Culture?
A typical definition of culture is the pervasive values, attitudes, standards, beliefs and behaviors that characterize a company and guide its practices.
To put it simply, culture is “the way we do things around here.”
Yet neither of these definitions is particularly helpful. When trying to define culture, I always think of former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart. He of course famously, or infamously, uttered the words: “I can’t define it but I know it when I see it.”
I find that while most leaders have difficulty defining culture, they know it when they see it. When I ask audiences to identify companies they believe that have strong positive cultures, typical responses include Chick Fil A and Southwest Airlines.
Chick Fil A’s success, for example, is based on customer satisfaction and also the value of giving employees family time on Sundays. And the same goes for Southwest Airlines. Their servant leadership model shows employees are treated as equals and feel valued at work. And it trickles down to the customer level also.
When we identify a company as having a strong culture, it is usually because we know what they value, and what they stand for. And we are drawn to them because their values resonate with us.
The interesting thing about a strong values-based culture is it works both ways. It attracts customers and employees with whom the values resonate. And yet it can be off-putting to those for whom the values do not resonate – it literally defines our employee and customer base.
During my presentations and workshops, discussions about which companies have a strong positive culture are often passionate debates among participants. However, each time, participants share a wide variety of valuable perspectives.
Why Change Your Company’s Culture?
Most change is hard in general, and changing a company’s culture is particularly hard. So if you are going to set out on this journey, you and your team need a solid reason for doing so.
As it turns out, culture has a direct impact on performance.
Gallup analytics finds that employees and teams who align with their organization’s culture consistently perform better on internal key performance metrics than those who do not.
Numbers don’t lie: one in three employees worldwide strongly agrees with the statement “The mission or purpose of my organization makes me feel my job is important.”
By doubling that ratio, business units have realized a:
- 34% reduction in absenteeism
- 42% drop in safety incidents
- 19% improvement in quality
A Blueprint for Culture Change
We know culture matters. Yet the organizational landscape is cluttered with failed culture change initiatives.
Why? Because we fail to clearly define and impact the true drivers of culture: experiences, beliefs and behaviors.
Stay tuned for the next blog post where we will explore these three drivers of culture and discover how managers and leaders at all levels can impact these drivers to effect culture change.
Thinking of making a positive change in your organization sooner than later? Let’s talk about how I can help leadership get your team focused on a results-driven culture and on the path to success.
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