Maximizing our Competitiveness by Creating an Excellent Organizational Culture
A work in progress by By Craig A. Stevens
What does high turnover, high stress, internal social cliques and infighting, shrinkage and dishonest transitions, falling revenue, and poor customer service all have in common? These are all some of the symptoms of a broken organizational culture. Now the bigger question is, how can we build an excellent organizational culture that will act as a catalyst to attract and keep the best employees, serve our customers well, make us more competitive, and improve our revenues? For a free eBook on the Seven Attributes of Excellent Management go to http://www.e-wbs.com/home/reviews/.
Culture is the collective programming of the mind, which distinguishes the members of one group from another. Geert Hofstede
An organization’s culture is the limiting factor to its success. When we think of culture, we often think of the employees in our organization but culture is more likely a reflection of the leaders. http://www.e-wbs.com/the-seven-attributes-of-excellent-management/incubating-excellent-leaders/
An employee experiences the culture of a company as a reflection of the relationship with his or her direct supervisor; thus culture often flows downhill.
On the Mobile of Excellent Management, culture is represented by the string or cable that holds the mobile together. If the leaders drop the cable the mobile falls. Furthermore, if you cut the cable, the mobile falls apart. No initiative will work effectively without a willing culture. In addition, on the mobile, many strands make up a cable; the same is true of an organization’s culture.
The Cable of Excellent Culture
As in cable in the figure below, several interwoven cords make up organizational culture:
- Values and ethics (often based on your world view)
- Common or diverse languages (includes native toughs and learned jargon),
- Subcultures like those found within races, professions, clubs, clicks, gangs, and groups of all kinds.
- Underlining assumptions and mental images or those judgments that relate to who we are and where we have traveled.
- Group patterns of behavior and habits (like work and lunch schedules).
- Company artifacts and symbols (like time cards, personalize parking places, and corner offices or cubicles).
- World View (how one views the world and on what that view is based).
No initiative will work effectively without addressing the issue of culture. Like the many strands that make up a single string or cable, the interaction of these ‘strands’ make an organization’s culture.
Leadership Drives Culture:
The leaders closest to you drives your view of your organization’s culture. A person’s direct supervisor paints the picture of what the organization’s culture is to that employee.
To paraphrase Morrison, Culture is an inclusive descriptor for the integration of the organizational mission, vision, and organizational structure. It is heavily influenced by the type of service provided and the value that top management places on customer objectives, and organizational attributes. Organizations that rely heavily on top management for decisions are more likely to reflect a work culture that represents the values of the top executive. On the other hand, some organizations have customers located around the world and work from multiple divisions with discreet business plans. These are more likely to reflect the values and culture of its employees and customers who effectively force adaptation to cultural differences into work practices. These conditions of culture extend even to personnel practices, compensation strategies, recognition and rewards, communication and collaboration, and customer service strategies. Culture is the foundation upon which company strategies are built and implemented. It is so important to management model selection that it has been said that a management model cannot take hold if the cultural foundation of the organization is “cracked.”[i]
[i] Morrison, M. (2007, January). The Very model of a modern senior manager. In, The Tests of a leader. Harvard Business Review pp 27-39.