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Do you have the Culture you Really Want?

Put simply, culture is 'the way things are done around here'. Few businesses would question the business benefits of a healthy culture, but very few actually take effective steps necessary to create and sustain the kind of culture they say they want.

Kotter, the change management guru, rightly said that 'culture eats strategy for breakfast'. The best product or service, with the most carefully planned and appropriate strategy, will still fail to win if an organisation's culture is contrary to the stated means of delivery.

This very short article by Gallup offers some quick steps to realising the cultural potential you already have and maximising its effect:

Note the different language used by 'engaged' and 'disengaged' employees, and ask yourself which words are more typical of your staff.

The Johnson and Scholes Cultural Web is useful for benchmarking current cultural practices across several areas and for articulating and prioritising change initiatives. I have attached a sample with instructions for your use.

Johnson and Scholes Cultural Web -Wix Blog and Group Pages - Jul 24
Download DOCX • 87KB

The article also mentions 'values'. Values are often misunderstood or misused. Typically, organisations will have a long list of values which are little more than a paper exercise that few take note of.

Lencioni's split of values into different categories is really helpful:

  • Core Values - make your organisation unique and are already extant. They need not be moral, e.g., one could be 'innovation'.

  • Permission-to-Play Values - are common to all players in your sector and are required to be in your particular line of business, e.g., 'compliance' in a heavily regulated industry.

  • Aspirational Values - the ones that you want to be core values in the future.

  • Accidental Values - are detrimental to business performance but are clearly evident at present.

Identifying values in this way provides and more accurate and helpful picture of an organisation's current cultural state.

As always, good leadership is the key to leading effective change. Leaders must develop and sell the vision, and provide the drive and means to achieve the desired end-state.

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