Every organization has a culture, great organizations use a well thought out culture to achieve their goals.
In the book Hidden Value – How Great companies Achieve Extraordinary Results with Ordinary People by Charles A. O’Reilly III and Jeffrey, the authors from Stanford University/Stanford’s Graduate School of Business examine extraordinary U.S. profit making companies which include AES, Cisco Systems, Southwest Airlines and the New United Motor Manufacturing Company amongst others. In these organizations:
…….values and philosophy drive the management practices of the firm and help define its strategy – almost the exact opposite of what conventional wisdom teaches.
The culture comes first – it is not an afterthought.
What makes a great culture?
A great culture answers at least two very important questions:
‘WHY are we doing what we are doing?’ and ‘HOW (generally) are we going about doing it?’
Your motive for doing what you do will dictate the outcome of your actions. If your organization has simply been set up to make money then most day to day decisions will be taken based on how much profit can be made. This will eventually create a culture where people sense they are not being valued and it will cause them to give less than their best affecting profitability.
When you know your motive for doing what you do as an organization then you need to look at how you are going to do it. Even when you have a motive that will produce a positive culture you need to set guidelines outlining what you are prepared and not prepared to do to meet your goals.
‘In an already established organization can the negative aspects of a culture be changed?’
Yes, but is far from easy and it requires a committed leader who is willing to make tough choices. Ideally he or she will need the support of people at all levels of the organization.
‘Is it easier to manage culture in bigger or smaller organizations?’
In our experience smaller organizations have a slight edge but what is important is that your culture can be broken down into very simple ‘ways of doing business’ that can be understood by all and implemented at all corners of the organization with positive reinforcement from leaders WHO SET THE EXAMPLE.
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