Culture in the News

Week of July 31 - Culture is a "Fuzzy" Concept

Culture - The Top Down Approach

"Defining a company's culture can be a difficult task. Although it is a fuzzy concept, it is also very real. Your organization's work culture dictates how your employees think, the manner in which they will respond to a customer, and even whether they will continue in their jobs or leave to join another firm.”

“It is quite common for top management to be unaware of what really makes their company tick. Which areas do employees prioritize, and which do they consider unimportant?”

Our Take-Senior leaders often focus on strategy and the processes to get to those strategies; making the formulation and execution of plan somewhat easy to power through. However, the plans tend to look better on paper than in practice, because you run into the molasses of culture stopping momentum in its tracks.

You can’t remove culture from the equation, so it’s important to have senior leaders grasp what culture really is. We understand that culture can be a ‘fuzzy concept’ but we break it down into 10 simple dimensions, all which are on a good-to-good scale.

Our Phase I lets these senior leaders have a hands on approach to culture and truly understand where they (individually) think the company’s culture is currently at and where it is needed to shift. It is then we can create alignment and consensus among the leadership team, which ultimately cascades down to the front line employees. .

Change Your Culture To Meet The Changing Times

Company Culture as You Know It is Dead

Tip #3: As you shift strategy, adjust culture too.

If your strategy changes, you must adjust your culture so the actions and behaviors you want to see within your organization reflect the new roadmap. But, don’t just announce a strategic change and expect people to automatically adjust their behaviors to create a culture that supports the new direction. Start at the top! Once leaders set the tone, demonstrating the actions and behaviors you want to see, your people will follow their example. ”

Our Take-Let’s face it, business structures and strategies as we know it today are ever changing. When would a shift in strategy need to occur? We suggest if you are going through one or more of the following organizational pains, that you think about changing your organization’s culture:

1. Change in Leadership – a new leader or changes to your leadership team.

2. Merger or Acquisition – two organization joining forces may or may not produce a new strategy.

3. Sudden or Unexpected Downturn – a sudden drop in performance typically prompts a change in strategy as a means of addressing the shortfall.

4. Brain Drain – a large number of long-term employees exiting an organization coupled with new hire turnover produces what we refer to “Brain Drain”

5. Exponential Growth – organizations growing at a rapid pace need to quickly assimilate new employees into the existing culture that has contributed to their success.

Week of July 24- Deploying the Culture You Need

Culture- Are You Walking the Walk?

“At most organizations, culture is barely a snack--people talk a lot about culture, but often the energy they expend talking about culture far exceed the calories they spend actually doing anything about it. What you say about your culture will help you get candidates in the door, but what you do about culture is what defines your success.

Our Take-Work Effects Managing Director, Michael Stewart, often says, “You hire a candidate for the role based on their resume, and by golly, the whole person shows up to work.” Now more than ever, turnover is impacted by new hires having that same experience- the culture they heard of in the interview is nowhere to be found by week 2.

This often happens when culture is being thought of as values, or a set of ideals. “We like to think of ourselves as…” is a hope, not a strategy. Regardless of the specific values, there’s no further communication on how employees should live these values out, and as a result that ideal culture doesn’t come to life.

By distilling what makes up strategy into 10 dimensions of culture, Work Effects has taken the often elusive culture and made it measurable, attainable, and flexible to shift with strategy. Learn more here.


5 Ways to Integrate Employee Autonomy Into Your Culture

“‘I want everyone to make a conscious decision in their work to move the company forward,’ Lyons said in an email. ‘If this means moving quickly and without direct permission, so be it. Red tape suffocates growth, creativity and problem-solving. I want to eliminate it entirely.’”

Our Take-Autonomy is values by both individuals and leaders, as it allows for development and efficiency, respectively. However, is this shared value enough to tell an organization how to execute autonomy? Will telling an employee to spread their wings lead them down the wrong path, creating rework and frustration? These uncertainties can limit leaders, and even the best intentioned organizations can revert back to micro-managing ways.

So what’s the way around this? When how work gets done, or culture, is clearly defined, the opportunities for autonomy become much greater. With a culture that is purposefully aligned to an organization’s strategy, individuals understand how their work contributes to the overall goals. Communication from managers is surrounded by the context of purposeful culture- how work needs to be approached, in order to drive the organization towards its strategic goals. To start defining how this would look in your organization, click here for our quick survey.

Week of July 17- Driving Change and Identifying Key Influencers

Change is Hard- Now What?

"Change is hard in the same way that it’s hard to finish a marathon. Yes, it requires significant effort. But the fact that it requires effort doesn’t negate the fact that most people who commit to a change initiative will eventually succeed.

“This point has gone largely unnoticed by an entire generation of experts and laypeople alike. I am just as guilty of this omission as everyone else. But now that we know the truth, don’t we have a duty to act on it? Isn’t it time to change the way we talk about change?"

Our Take-We will be the first to agree with leaders, change is hard. However, this is often due to a focus on the wrong priorities. If you’re changing the cubicles layout, only to realize you need to restructure a few teams, and then you find there are still gripes with the vacation policy, change is hard.

Rather than focusing on changing the physical, systems, or behaviors, we recommend starting with strategy. Culture change is difficult because the direction can change with one leader’s preference or one survey’s results. Strategy is a consistent guiding post, and sustainable change comes from aligning how work gets done (culture) to the end goal (strategy).

Can You Recover from a Negative Environment?

How To Shift Your Negative Company Culture

"Once you determine you have the right players to facilitate this seismic shift, you must decide what your culture needs to be in order for you to succeed. What characteristics does your team need to have in order to survive the test of time? These characteristics will be the roadmap for decision-making and problem-solving. If your people do not embrace change and are content, it will be very difficult for you to get buy-in to the new vision.

Our Take-Health is essential to all organizations, and it can often be the fact that will enable success or inhibit growth. This article has a great sense of direction, though finding the key people who will truly be your culture champions is easier said than done.

This is why we developed the Key People Indicator™, which is a multi-rater assessment that allows raters to choose whom they want to provide feedback on. Organizations receive an unprecedented view into who the key influencers are (good and bad), as you can see below.