People often talk about “organisational culture” like it’s a silver bullet. Get the culture right in a workplace and, before you know it, you’ll be breaking sales records and winning awards, right?
Many organisations are investing huge money and effort into getting their company culture just right.
It’s a fantastic objective, but one that’s potentially flawed when organisational culture is viewed as a homogenous mass.
So here are a few insider tips to consider when looking at your organisation’s culture. Take these tips into account and you’ll ensure you get value from your review.
Tip 1: Organisations aren’t limited to one culture
This is a common misconception, but there are many cultural aspects that create both your clients’ and staff’s reality. Often, numerous organisational cultures are competing for attention. While your culture relates to your team and staff processes, it’s also expressed through customer experience. Motivational speaker Simon Sinek cites Starbucks as an example, saying “Starbucks was founded around the experience and the environment of their stores.” He says the brand created a comfortable space for people to come and work without pressure to buy. “The coffee was incidental,” he continues.
Takeaway: Remember that while culture is often seen as relating to your internal team, how you’re perceived in the marketplace by your customers, as well as the wider community, is another measure of your organisational culture.
Tip 2: A culture of loyalty can be damaging
I want to debunk a long-held view that staff loyalty is always essential to a positive organisational culture. I’ve worked with dozens of companies and organisations who have proven that loyalty – often viewed based on length of service – can be counterproductive. At times employees can become so “loyal” to an employer that they don’t make their own future and wellbeing a priority, with disastrous consequences. Loyal employees can feel disengaged if they’re overlooked for promotions, while employers might conversely place too high of a regard on loyalty, rather than finding the best person for a particular role. Loyal employees can stop employers from making the hard decisions they need to. At the same time, employees might miss out on the opportunities they want, resulting in a lose-lose.
Takeaway: Modern businesses need to create a culture that places respect for each other and our clients, hard work and genuine output ahead of loyalty.
Tip 3: Review your culture – regularly
Think you’ve already got a great organisational culture? It’s still important to review your cultures, as your internal culture influences how your customers perceive you and your organisation, and impacts on the quality of your service delivery. This, in turn, will impact your KPIs and the overall performance of your organisation. Steve Jobs once famously stated that the real return on culture at Apple “happened when we started getting more deliberate about it”. He said this was done “By writing it down. By debating it. By taking it apart, polishing the pieces and putting it back together.”
Takeaway: Your organisation’s cultures are always a work in progress, open to review, change and growth.
Need support reviewing your organisational cultures? Kiikstart can help. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0428 593 400.