In today’s workplace, a thriving culture is often the differentiating factor between success and failure. Culture impacts everything from how people show up, to what drives and motivates them, to how far they are willing to go for you or your customers.
The interesting thing about culture is that it is embodied by the people and portrayed by their behaviours. It is externally guided yet intrinsically developed. Trying to simply copy another company’s culture will likely result in something far from what you expected.
So how do you build and inspire a culture that will make you successful?
Your company’s vision, the reason it exists, its “why”, is the ultimate inspiration, it is the breath that gives life to your culture. Without a vision, you have confusion, lack of direction, and people make assumptions about what they are there to achieve. You will get a culture, however, it likely won’t get you where you want to go.
To support your vision, strong and aligned values must be instilled. What do you stand for? What line will you not cross? What will you always challenge? Your strategic decisions must align with your vision, however, your day to day execution must be aligned with your values. Your values are the success ingredients of your vision.
When people have a vision that they believe in and values that they honour, they will produce a culture that supports the vision and values. Ultimately, the way we experience culture is through people and their behaviours and actions. For a culture to be measured as effective, it must produce results that are aligned with your vision and values. An effective culture ultimately makes your vision possible.
A strong sense of cultural integrity is key to maintaining your culture. Cultural integrity is achieved when vision and values are aligned with actions and behaviours. A culture can easily morph into another one when this integrity is lost. When integrity is not maintained, a rogue and ineffective culture is born.
Have a look at your environment. Is there misalignment between your vision, your values, what people say, what they do, and how they behave? How are people rewarded for their work? Are they rewarded in a way that is aligned with the vision and values? All of these play an important role in maintaining a healthy and effective culture. If in doubt, then start by honouring your vision and values through your behaviours, and above all else, be consistent and the rest will magically come into line.