Much has been written and studied about organizational culture over the past 20 years, but it is still an elusive concept for many. In simple terms, organizational culture is the set of beliefs, core values, and attitudes that permeate an organization and influence employee behavior and performance. Organizational culture not only impacts the people within your organization but can also impact the way your organization is perceived by customers, competitors, business partners, vendors, and potential employees.
You may have an amazing mission and vision, outstanding business model, and razor-sharp strategy coupled with state-of-the-art systems, but if your people are not aligned with these values, your organization will struggle to achieve its goals (remember the old Peter Drucker adage: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”?).
Organizations will often have clear mission and vision statements that are easily accessed on their websites and in their marketing materials. However, an organization’s culture is not so easily accessed or identified, as it is something that is undocumented and far less tangible. We can understand an organization’s culture only by talking to its people and observing their behaviors and interactions with team members, subordinates, and leaders.
In organizations with healthy corporate cultures, you will find highly engaged and productive employees performing at consistently high levels of excellence, while striving to best serve their colleagues and customers. In organizations with unhealthy corporate cultures, you may likely find disengaged and resentful employees performing at a bare minimum level of productivity within self-serving silos and displaying little respect for colleagues or customers.
Cultural issues are often uncovered as part of a current-state assessment during the planning stage of an organizational change management (OCM) approach. If left unaddressed, the symptoms of an unhealthy culture will unequivocally have a negative impact on the outcome of any enterprise-wide initiative such as a large-scale technology transformation.
If an assessment identifies culture issues within your organization, take the steps necessary to address them before they undermine the success of your technology transition. Because culture issues take time and resources to properly remedy, it’s usually best to engage outside experts in organization effectiveness to help you plan and execute your strategy.
A fundamental focus of leadership should be on how to strategically and proactively communicate with employees to achieve desired outcomes, address known and anticipated concerns, and guide the workforce through transformational changes. If your organization lacks a clear internal communications strategy, contact Avaap to discuss how to build your strategy.