Organisational culture has become a buzzword in the last decade.
Do you know what the culture is in your organisation?
If YOU aren’t sure what the culture is, then it is a definite reflection that it isn’t important to the executive team!
When the culture is important to people at the top, there is a great ripple effect throughout the organisation. The key part is that the executive team/management, practise what they preach. They are role models of the culture and openly share and practice the values the culture is based on.
We’ve seen many organisations getting creative in their intention to develop a stronger organisational culture by supplying internal Cafes, breast-feeding rooms, strengthening the environmental sustainability of products, providing sound-proof pods for meetings and even supplying table-tennis tables or games areas.
However, to create an organisational culture that has clarity around values, it must be people driven. It can be alongside material products and creative environments, but it cannot be driven by supplying material products alone to distract or compensate for a lack of awareness of its people.
Some vital signs that the organisational culture is not all it’s cracked up to be:
Low retention of employees, low levels of funding received across the organisation, high levels of stress (and stress leave), high levels of micro-managing, unreasonable expectations of employees, an intolerance to make mistakes or failures, and very little recognition of a collaborative team ethos.
Do any of these resonate with you in your organisation?
So, what can you do to have any impact on the organisational culture?
#1 Begin with your own team’s culture
Evaluate where you are at and create team unity. Have a shared vision based on shared values of the group. And if you don’t have a team, begin by exploring your own values. These may include things like courage, honesty, openness, inclusion, fun, or growth. If you have a team that is toxic you will see behaviours where people constantly compete with each other, have a huge ‘resistance to change’ factor and will promote ‘I’ not team and take credit for other people’s hard work.
#2 Start small
Begin with simple changes that can have a ripple effect impact on the rest of the organisation. For example, explore alternative methods for running meetings. Start on time, respecting each individual present in the room, include ideas from every person not just the vocal ones, assign roles and expected timelines for completion of each task required and hold people accountable to these agreements. These are small tweaks which can have a massive impact and change the culture of the organisation, one step at a time.
#3 Monitor progress and celebrate the mistakes and wins
When we create an environment where we celebrate the mistakes, we are creating a culture of psychological safety. One where people feel safe to share ideas, identify concerns, admit mistakes and are prepared to learn the valuable lessons to make things better next time. If we do not constantly monitor our organisational culture, then we are consistently giving the message to the team that their input doesn’t really matter, which drives a wedge between the values we SAY we have and those we SHOW.
All companies have a culture, whether it is intentional or not. A values-based culture can boost results and a poor one will repress them. When an organisation has a values-based culture, this has a powerful impact on the performance of each individual and the team as a whole. People will want to be part of that organisation. They will go all out. Wholeheartedly commit. Commit more of their energy, their time, their efforts and their passion, to the betterment of the organisation and the purpose that the organisation serves within the community or society as a whole.