Corporate culture is as much a key driver of a business’ success, as it is of it’s failure. World class organisations are known for strong corporate cultures that are client centric, employee focused, properly attuned to their business environments and adaptable in the face of change.
Corporate culture exists in all organisations, whether by thoughtful and careful design or by default, as a result of organic growth. The culture can be described as the shared, embedded, unspoken assumptions that a group holds which implicitly direct them as to how they perceive and respond to the environments in which they operate. Culture incorporates values, goals, attitudes, practices and habits. This means that leadership can deliberately change corporate culture by introducing and cultivating values, goals, attitudes, practices and habits which result in better ways of perceiving and reporting to the business environment.
Some of the characteristics of world class company cultures include:
- Effective leadership
- Relationships built on trust
- High levels of integrity
- Effective systems and processes
- Structures that foster effective teamwork, shared leadership and empowerment
- High levels of commitment to on-going learning coaching and skills development
- High levels of open information-sharing
- Effective 360 degree communications
- Unwavering customer focus
- High standards of accountability
- Energetic drive to achieve goals, targets and objectives
- Ease of adaptability
- Constant innovation-focus
- Emphasis on attracting and retaining top talent
- Rewards high performance
Embedded in a great culture is the imperative to enable and empower employees to excel as opposed to try and ‘get the best out of them’. Coaching, mentoring, training and developing employees is characteristic of having a collective mindset that the workplace is the fertile ground where diverse individuals can each realise their potential through their work together. Great workplaces also offer a myriad of effective ways to improve communication, build trust and enable commitment in relationships.
Every organisation wants high calibre people working for them and creating and sustaining the great workplace culture that is necessary to attract, engage and retain them takes focus, commitment and lots of energy. However, much effort has to be spent, and many opportunities are lost, while trying to sort out the problems, challenges and crises that constantly rise up in workplaces steeped in dysfunctional, negative and below-par cultures. A company with an excellent culture is able to compete for top talent; they have an easier time engaging the best and more success at retaining them – creating a world class culture is worth the focus, commitment and energy.