Occasionally a leader comes to us for a quick fix for their organizational culture. They want an executive retreat or a thirty-day program to improve results. But just like the snake oil of old, there are no quick fixes or miracle cures. The kinds of changes needed to create sustainable success are foundational, far-reaching, and take time to fully implement.
The Fundamentals of Organizational Culture
The most foundational elements of any organization are expressed by answering these questions:
- Why does the organization exist? What is its core purpose?
- What is the long-term destination? What is the measure of success?
- How do people operate? What are the core values of the organization – the non-negotiables.
These three elements—purpose, vision, and values—are the three legs of the organization’s culture stool. And atop the stool sits everything else—its decisions, goals, projects, processes, and people.
Most organizations today have taken the time to put together words and phrases to define their vision and values. But too often these statements are no more than just words on a plaque or in an annual report. The behaviours of employees and, most importantly those of leaders, don’t demonstrate these elements and thus they aren’t taken seriously.
In 2015, the Harvard Business Review partnered with EY Analytics to survey hundreds of business executives. In the results report, titled The Business Case for Purpose, came to the conclusion that “in those organizations where purpose had become a driver of strategy and decision-making, executives reported a greater ability to deliver revenue growth, drive successful innovation, and ongoing transformation.” Interestingly, in the same report, “… less than half of the executives surveyed said their company had actually articulated a strong sense of purpose and used it as a way to make decisions and strengthen motivation.”
Leading organizations have operationalized their vision and culture. They have embedded their values into recruiting and performance management, use their long-term vision to align annual and quarterly goals and plans, and continuously apply purpose, values, and vision as the measuring stick for all decisions and plans of action.
Building a winning organization requires a long-term, disciplined approach which begins by defining and integrating the core purpose, values, and vision for the organization.
Make Business More Predictable
We have identified four themes that capture the patterns we have seen working with winning companies—those who execute on their goals—and their leadership teams. They have all recognized that:
- It’s A Choice
Winning through execution.
- It’s A Long-Term Commitment
Purpose as a driver of strategy.
- People Trump Everything
Finding and developing top talent.
- Leaders Lead Change
Guidance through the change valley.
Today we covered the third theme but be sure to stay tuned for the next two blogs in our Predictable Business five-part blog series. Each blog article will be covering one of the four themes listed above so you can better equip yourself to reach predictable success.
If you’re eager to start today, you can download our full guide now to start learning how to achieve greater predictability in your business with bonus access to an assessment quiz. This will help showcase how ready you and your organization are to thrive in these times of uncertainty, identify some areas of opportunity, and contains further advice with some suggested action steps.
Are you ready to create predictable success for your business in 2021? The Results team wants to help with a customized plan! Book a chat with a member of our team for professional advice to improve business strategy and execution.