If a business is finding things challenging and not delivering the levels of performance it wants, it may well be not as a result of what’s happening around it (the market conditions, customer expectations etc.) but instead due to what’s happening inside its own walls. The way their people feel, think, behave and work together when they come to work.
This is your company’s culture. And it’s what ultimately determines what your company is capable of doing and how well it can perform.
A culture is a collection of deeply held attitudes, emotions, habits and repeated behaviours. It’s the shared set of assumptions everyone brings when they come to work together. It determines the expectations of staff have each other, & the emotional commitment they have to the company and its strategy.
There isn’t such a thing as a good or bad culture. But there are cultures that will be more effective in getting you where you want to be, ones that fit better with your strategy, your objectives and how you want your people to behave.
Take a minute to think about what type of culture you have in your business today.
Do your staff show respect, and pull together when things get tough? Or do you have a culture where nobody says thank you, no one takes responsibility and when things go wrong it leads to finger-pointing and excuses?
Do you people deliver because they have a sense of responsibility to achieve your shared goals or because of the thought of gaining a personal incentive?
These are examples of behaviours which can be seen in a performance culture versus an excuse one. Unfortunately the latter can be seen more often than we’d like and be both uncomfortable to work in, and deliver weaker results.
Only you can determine the right culture for you, but the most important thing is ensuring it aligns with your strategy. Do your collective staff behaviours support you in achieving the goals through the operational procedures you’re looking for?
In any business, the culture, strategy and operating models have to be completely interdependent. They all have a key role to play, and to be completely effective have to support each other and work well together.
A clear role of leadership is to recognise any issues between how you operate day to day & your strategic objectives. Ensure that they are aligned and resolve issues that are identified.
And leaders can also have a strong impact on your culture, but so can every member of staff. Each person has the ability to both influence and be influenced by the people around them, have their attitudes, feelings and behaviour shaped or reinforced.
Together they establish “how we do things around here” & each & every one of them has the ability to shape and change your culture.
Company cultures can be stubborn and reinforce themselves & it can be very difficult to get people to change and remove bad habits – but change can be made and the impact delivered to your business performance incredible.