Business is about the people; we’ve all heard that before. But as leaders, many of us don’t put enough focus on why this is truly important in our business. People drive everything good and everything bad that happens in our environments. They can be our best asset and competitive advantage and they can be our greatest liability.
The truth about people is that we all bring different experiences, ideas, perceptions into an organization. We don’t do it on purpose, but it is not something we can ask people to turn off. But underlying all these experiences, ideas and perceptions are an individuals’ core values. That’s really the part of a person that we want to make sure matches the values of our organization. We want them to be successful – for us and for them.
What we don’t often realize is that each of the people in our organization is part of the culture, like fibers in a material that’s woven together. We are stronger together, but each of our fibers needs to be strong for the whole to be strong.
This is where culture gets hard for many organizations. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to culture. It comes down to consistently working at it and making sure that it is a big part of your overall strategy. There are some myths around culture that can make improving and impacting our culture harder than it needs to be.
- Culture is all about FUN.
The truth is, your culture can be fun, but that is not the foundation of what culture is, it’s much more complicated than that. There are many aspects of culture and FUN is a key component. Organizations need to ensure that they have foundational elements like Accountability, Trust and Leadership to build a strong culture from. The FUN events are important but are not the foundation to a strong culture – if only it was that easy!
- Culture is impossible to measure
While it is true that culture is a lot harder to measure than other areas of your business, it is not impossible to measure. You can take an approach to baseline your culture with assessments, surveys or other tools and you can measure the improvement over time. There are foundational elements of culture that can be measured with help. Regardless if you can measure everything that impacts culture, it doesn’t make it any less important than the things you can measure. You still need to focus energy and effort on building and improving your culture.
- Culture must be driven by the leader
While the leader has a very important rule in culture and ensuring the culture is built in the right way for the organization, it cannot be on the shoulder of the leader to be successful. The strongest businesses involve their entire organization in the culture building and growth. They create committees and working groups to come up with ideas and drive strong initiatives that have credibility and impact in the organization.
The truth about Culture is that it is hard to build and hard to sustain. You are never done improving and evolving your culture. But once you have a solid foundation built, the incremental sustainment work becomes much easier.
Keystone Group International is a firm focused on building strong and sustainable cultures that create a competitive advantage. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about our 90 day culture reboot program to start improving your culture now!