Your strategy and culture are not in alignment when your company is experiencing one or more of the following:
- Poor Strategy Execution
- Sub-par Financial Results
- Organizational Responsibility Overlaps
- Internal Competition
- Lack of an ‘Engaged Culture’
Each company has it own unique culture. To the world, your culture is: ‘who you are’ or ‘your identity.’ A company’s culture really can be ‘magic’ when:
- Everyone is on the same page,
- Everyone knows where they are headed, and
- Everyone is ‘going for the gusto,’ together.
However, when your employees are: 1.) not on the same page, 2.) are unsure where heading, and 3.) heading in different directions, the resulting company culture becomes an ‘internal anchor’ affecting your ability to successfully implement your strategy. You have now inherited a ‘throttle’ that impedes efforts to grow your company and improve your profitability.
A company’s culture is its DNA
Your company’s culture is either built or eroded every day. Our task as leaders, is to create the work environment where employees choose to align their work beliefs and behaviors with the beliefs and behaviors necessary to execute our strategy. Hence, our challenge is to engage the hearts and minds of our employees so, collectively, we fuel the growth and profitability of our company.
Remember, culture infiltrates every aspect of your business. Your company culture is present in your leadership decision making, the work ethic of your employees, and the outward display of your company values. Culture impacts every member of your team from CEO to front line worker.
Company’s don’t implement strategy, people do
No matter how good a strategy is, when it comes down to it, your employees make the difference. A culture will emerge within your company regardless if it is intentional or not. So, the question is, who will shape, lead, and manage your culture change? Are you going to take the ‘bull by the horns’ and create the working environment for your employees to succeed and thrive? Or, will you continue to ‘roll the dice’ by accepting your current culture?
The days of ‘Top-down Strategy’ for the masses to do, is over!
No longer can senior management develop a strategy, promote its merits, and expect employees to follow along just because, ‘we say so.’ Unless today’s employee knows and understands the ‘why’ behind the strategy, employees will remain disengaged and resistant to change. Why, because employees’ internal question is, ‘What’s in it for me?’
When your culture embraces your strategy, execution is scalable, repeatable, and sustainable. Therefore, your company culture is the enabler to achieve long-term business success.
So, how does one go about changing their company culture?
The power of a company’s culture lies in that company’s ability to:
- Bring people together to work towards a common goal,
- Overcome the volatility and ambiguity that characterize the marketplace
- Drive the company towards results, while their competitors struggle.
Changing culture involves influencing people’s beliefs and most ingrained behaviors. There are three aspects involved in a company culture change.
- Shared Vision
Culture change requires both an individual perspective and an organizational perspective. Organizations don’t change, individuals do. Success lies in each employee doing their work differently. Companies must initiate the processes and provide the tools to help individuals make the change successfully.
Using a structured approach, our job is to:
- Clearly communicate the ‘why’ associated with the change.
- Create the work environment in which employees support the change and willingly participate.
- Communicate the ‘how’ of the change process
- Craft the plan to assure the needed skills are developed and the ‘expected behaviors’ consistently modeled
- Continued reinforcement to sustain changes implemented
- Top to Bottom Collaboration
Culture begins at the top. No one has as more influence on a company’s culture than, the CEO. The CEO and the entire leadership team, must be ‘on the same page,’ ‘rowing in the same direction,’ and ‘modeling the behaviors’ required for success.
- Start with purpose – you need to begin by understanding your “why”
- Define common language, values, and standards – Aligned cultures need a common language that allows people to understand each other.
- Lead by example – Leadership team must reflect the company’s values and standards.
- Embrace your frontline cultural ambassadors – These are employees who love the company and its core purpose. These employees are your best cultural cheerleaders.
- Seek, speak, and act with truth – Applies to the leadership team and every single employee.
- Respect your human capital, treat your employees right. – ‘hire for attitude’ and ‘train for skill.’
- Behavior Accountability
Aligned cultures empower employees to take ownership. When employees adopt an ‘ownership mindset,’ an environment of accountability is a natural outcome. Because of a shared vision and top to bottom collaboration, there is a high level of trust between all levels of the organization.
Ownership is about taking the initiative to do the right thing for the business
Without accountability, execution suffers.
When we, as individuals, don’t hold ourselves accountable, there’s a tendency to become more lenient and forgiving for slippages. When we, as individuals, don’t hold ourselves accountable, the overall impact for the company is exponential because one individual’s delay becomes the next process’ delay, and so on… Make accountability a part of your company’s ‘operating norm.’
- Who will shape, lead, and manage your culture change? You or circumstances?
- Are you going to take the ‘bull by the horns’ and create the working environment for your employees to succeed and thrive?
- Or, will you continue to ‘roll the dice’ by accepting your current culture?
Tell me, in the comments, what you are doing to align your strategy and culture. If you are ‘rolling with what you have now,’ let me know how that’s working for you, in the comments.
Want more of my strategic alignment insights, sign up for my blog.