Inspiring a Strong Culture

Inspiring a Strong CultureA business or corporate culture is much like the culture of a society. For example, you’ve heard the phrase, “Southern hospitality,” which insinuates that natives of the Southern U.S. states are generally friendlier, more helpful and more congenial than those who live in other regions. This reputation is part of our country’s common vernacular, because the culture in the South is, in fact, hospitable.

Companies often detail their corporate culture on their website or marketing materials, touting the commitment to clients and employees or characterizing the atmosphere as relaxed and collaborative. But these are just words, and simply stating a corporate culture does not make it reality. A leader’s responsibility is inspiring a strong culture within their workplaces, from the inside out. Southerners did not receive the reputation of being hospitable by merely stating it was true. They walked the walk, long enough to inoculate the rest of the country with the characteristic of their culture. Similarly, a strong corporate culture provides a powerful lever for employees to guide their own behavior.

Strong cultures help employees perform better by instituting a system of informal rules, versus creating robots who waste time trying to figure out what they are supposed to do. Also, the strong culture allows workers to feel good about their accomplishments. This is a direct result of a company that cares about its people.

How do you evaluate your own company’s culture?

•    Observe physical setting – Rank by office/parking or are Break areas segmented
•    Read and listen to what your company says about itself
•    How do you greet strangers?
•    Who are the leaders and the heroes?
•    What is the career path progression?
•    How is time spent?
•    How long to people stay in their jobs?
•    What anecdotes and stories are being repeated?

Once you have determined your company’s culture, you can then move forward with identifying weaknesses that may deter your team’s progress. Changing a culture requires a change in thinking, the creation of a shared vision. Go back to your mission, values and purpose and discover the common direction for your employees. When this is decided upon, the fundamental character of your organization will shine through.

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