Written by: Tania Caza, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Do you have a well-thought-out business strategy and plan and yet it just doesn’t seem to be moving forward? Are you hitting a wall as you try to make progress? It might be time to look at your Company's Culture and Strategy. If your business strategy doesn’t incorporate thoughtful, intentional strategies for managing your company culture, then there is a good chance that your business strategy will be demolished by your company culture. After all, according to Peter Drucker, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
What exactly is company culture anyway? It has been a buzzword for several years and is a trendy item as a discussion topic at many business conferences. So, I turned to my trusty friend ‘Google’ and asked, “what is the definition of company culture”?
Google returned many definitions that generally discuss the attitudes, beliefs, and behavior of the employees in a workplace.
While I don’t disagree with any of these definitions, I find that they are superficial and perhaps passive. I do agree that organizational culture will exist whether leadership chooses to shape it or not. Without intentionality, then yes, the culture will be a collection of all the individual employee-held beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. And all these individual pieces added together, may or may not work well together to deliver business results in the best way possible.
Instead, I like to think about company culture from a position of intentionality. Where leadership has the ability and desire, but more importantly, understands that shaping the workplace culture to one that drives business strategy and performance is a critical business need. From that lens, here is a deeper definition that I prefer from the Great Place to Work organization:
“A great workplace is about the level of trust that employees experience in their leaders, the level of pride they have in their jobs, and the extent to which they enjoy their colleagues.”
What I love about this definition, and the many years of research behind it is that the leadership team can impact every single component of the employee experience in an intentional and strategic manner. I notice this definition requires proactivity on behalf of leadership. This is not a passive definition, it requires intentionality and regular, consistent action. No longer leaving the workplace culture up to the fate of the aggregated individual employees’ belief systems.
Through their Trust model (Trust Model | Great Place to Work®) leadership can implement strategies on 5 dimensions:
build Credibility and Respect,
employ practices and policies that are Fair,
build Pride in their employees, and
encourage Comradery with a strong community of colleagues.
Focusing on these 5 areas, leveraging the unique values, language and behaviors of the organization, trust, and therefore, the workplace culture will improve over time.
Let’s take a deeper dive into these 5 areas. What kinds of behaviors can leaders start to exhibit with their employees to build trust?
Credibility – at the root of credibility, is being honorable in your word. Do the things you say you will do, communicate in an honest and transparent manner, and demonstrate humility. Also, recognize and appreciate your employees in the way that works best for them.
Fairness – simply put, treating all employees with fairness and equity, while creating an environment of inclusivity, diversity, and belonging. The difficulty in this dimension is ensuring that all policies and practices are reviewed from this perspective. Too often, relying on a policy or practice that doesn’t stand the test of time can be perceived as unfair in its implementation and impact on people.
Respect – this speaks to employees feeling like their ideas, opinions, and voices matter. Leaders ought to include employees in the conversation and proactively ask for their input. It also goes without saying that workplace culture accepts employees as their whole authentic selves, and they feel like they belong in the team and organization.
Camaraderie – Proactively design a culture that encourages people to come together outside of direct work activities. This could be celebrating together, learning more about people outside of work, volunteerism as a team, or caring for people when they are struggling.
Pride – Helping your employees understand how they fit to achieve the mission of the organization is at the center of this dimension. This is all about getting people aligned and working together for the greater good. It’s the difference between a bricklayer saying, “I’m just laying bricks, day in and day out” to them saying “I’m building a cathedral”. When an employee feels pride in their work and how it connects to the mission of the organization, they are willing to go above and beyond for that cause.
If you are a leader and you are not seeing the business results you want, taking a step back to ensure that an Intentional and Strategic Culture Strategy is in place and being implemented consistently could not only save your strategies but also amplify your business. Without an Intentional Culture Strategy incorporated into your Business Strategy, you are relying totally on the improvisation of individuals to execute your business plans and that is a huge risk.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series where I will discuss the business results that can be achieved by focusing on an Intentional Culture.
Tania Caza, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
With years of being an executive in HR, Tania Caza is a leader in business coaching helping executives and leaders shift into high performers. With an MBA and certified with the NeuroLeadership Institute in the Brain Based Coaching program she has the background and expertise needed to guide leaders through the challenges and tough decisions faced at the executive table and the strategies required for a business to be successful. Tania is the Founder and Executive Coach of TanGo Business Coaching where the belief is that people are the true differentiator in every organization and investing in leaders through coaching will only lead to escalated business success.