The hidden asset that does not appear on the balance sheet. Who you are internally will absolutely become reflected in who you are externally. HOW we perform must be equally important as IF we perform. Every company, whether they think about it or not has a culture and this culture is either strengthening or weakening business performance. A great culture will unlock the talents of people and allow them to thrive. A poor culture will send quality talent out the door or keep its contributions restrained.
To focus on culture, you first need to understand the current culture. Far too many organizations spend two days at strategic planning to craft lofty mission, vision, and value statements, then have very nice wall hangings behind the receptionist, in the conference rooms and they publish them in annual reports.
To have an actively managed culture, you must first embark on a discovery process – ask people, observe, and document the current and the aspirational elements of culture. Dedicate a week or two to cultural discovery and explore what is great that you should keep, what you wish you had, what you have that needs to be eliminated, and what you need to intentionally keep out.
Once you have gone through the discovery process, only then do you begin to document the core values and core principles, the attitudinal and behavioral expectations in support of the core values. Surfacing these from the grassroots of reality will always be more effective than the traditional top-down approach which feels more like the ten commandments.
Lastly, documenting the culture words and phrases is not enough. There needs to be a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly pulse of reinforcement. This pulse should result in the ongoing quest to explore the definitions of the principles, evaluate how well we are living the principles, and determine what we can do to improve. Also, these principles become part of the hiring process, the performance management process, and even become part of the due diligence behind mergers and acquisitions.
Culture is not buying pizza and giving free coffee. Culture is about relationships, communication, client focus, work environments. Culture is an investment business leaders need to make to attract and unleash talent and separate their business performance from the competition. Culture is the asset on the balance sheet that is not measured and that the competition cannot easily duplicate. For questions or more information pertaining to this article, please contact Scott Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com