Culture Drives Performance
Senior leaders often focus on strategy and the processes to get to those strategies. However, the plans tend to look better on paper than in practice, once you run into the molasses of culture stopping momentum in its tracks. At Work Effects, we often hear leaders say they have a “good” culture; there are strong leaders, teams are effective, etc. However, we define these as attributes of organizational health. Work Effects thinks of culture on a good-good continuum, there aren’t good or bad cultures, but rather cultures that benefit your organization’s goals and strategies.
For example, an organization’s atmosphere may be very disciplined or very social; both are good, but there may be current practices or processes that do not serve the current culture, or vice versa.
By reviewing the organization’s culture one dimension at a time, leaders accurately analyze how these show up in their organization.
Define Your Purposeful Culture
A purposeful culture connects the strategies of an organization to the belief systems that people have; allowing culture to be the momentum, not molasses.
These connections of strategies and culture can’t just be healthy for the organization; when an organization has a purposeful culture, it can accelerate achieving desired results and enable optimal performance levels, creating a differentiated business with a competitive advantage.
The first step in defining this purposeful culture is ensuring that everyone has the same goals and strategies in mind to create a road map for the future of the organization.
Once strategies are agreed upon, we dissect the current culture to remove any opportunities for molasses to slow the progress.
We ask participants to assess each dimension of culture and mark with red dots where they believe the current culture falls on the good-good spectrum.
This allows us to get at what the true beliefs are, and where gaps in opinions may exist. Illuminating each participant’s perspective, opinions may be different, but none are right nor wrong.
Reviewing this visual representation of culture as a group, participants are able to gain insight from other departments or teams of how the culture currently is or is not serving them.
Next, participants assess where they believe the culture needs to be, in order to achieve their strategic goals and leverage their secret sauce. As shown in the figure below, the green dots naturally become more aligned from the discussion of where the culture is today.
Creating a unified vision, participants then prioritize dimensions by allowing each person to vote with blue dots for what they believe are the three most important belief systems for achieving their strategic goals. This identifies the most critical areas of focus.
Leadership buy-in is a necessity for developing organizational health and transforming culture. Work Effects ensures this dedication through inspired participation, heightened communication, and a focused half-day work shop.
We end the session with leaders practicing how they will share this cultural shift with others. In order to cascade change, leaders must communicate how it drives the organization towards its strategic goals.
In short, the outcomes include:
- Quickly building one voice for the leadership team
- Clear roadmap of how to navigate molasses and use culture to your advantage
- Establish and leverage your secret sauce
- Lay the groundwork for aligning the entire organization, bringing us to Phase II.