Business & Leadership Insights
Our latest thinking on the issues that matter most in organisations.
Why don’t the recipes for successfully innovating in one company transfer to another? How can one organisation manage to reinvent itself, but another can’t? What explains the attractiveness of working at certain corporations over others?
The difference is culture, and shaping organisational culture should be an area of attention for leaders and organisations.
Shaping Organisational Culture
Leaders are often confounded by culture, because much of it is anchored in unspoken behaviors, mindsets, and social patterns. Many leaders either let it go unmanaged or relegate it to HR, where it becomes a secondary concern for the business. This is a mistake, because properly managed, culture can help them achieve change and build organisations that will thrive in even the most trying times.
In response, 43% of HR leaders said that keeping a strong organisational culture alive will be their biggest challenge in 2023 and beyond. Organisational culture is a key driver of employee engagement and productivity. Research shows that 77% of employees believe organisational culture to be essential. As such, it’s important that leaders address this challenge. Leaders must create a workplace culture that marches to the beat of organisational goals.
With more organisations adapting to hybrid working arrangements, this has resulted in more dispersed teams. Work at home employees also face increased isolation. Their (virtual) interactions are often limited to their team or their manager. There are fewer "water cooler moments" to enjoy.
As a result, organisations can no longer rely on HR alone to drive culture-building activities. Today’s leaders play a greater role than ever before in shaping organisational culture. If organisational values align with the personal values of employees, and the culture aligns with the business strategy, then the organisation is more likely to avoid high staff turnover and achieve lasting success.
Ways to Shape Organisational Culture
While leaders can’t fully control a complex entity like culture, you can do your part to shape it. We have other insights and recommendations on changing organisational culture to be more interdependent, but at a high level, here’s how individual leaders can contribute to shaping organisational culture.
It starts with identifying Culture Targets. These targets should: align with the organisation’s strategic direction; be important to execute; and reflect the demands of the external environment.
Understand the Current Culture
Examine your culture—the organisation’s founding and heritage, its espoused values, subcultures, leadership style, and team dynamics. (Use the assessment to start the conversation.)
Identify your culture’s strengths and examine its impact on your organisation today. Interview key stakeholders and influential members of the organisation as needed.
Consider Strategy and the Environment
Assess current and future external conditions and strategic choices and determine which cultural styles will need to be strengthened or diminished in response.
Formulate a culture target according to which styles will support future changes.
Frame the Aspiration in Business Realities
Translate the target into organisational change priorities. It should be framed not as a culture change initiative but in terms of real-world problems to be solved and solutions that create value.
Ready to Take the Next Step?
Partner with our experts to diagnose your organisation’s current state and identify the behaviours and elements needed for shaping an organisational culture that supports your strategy and priorities. Our organisational leadership culture change service will assist you in creating organisational culture habits to take your organisation into the future.
Gestaldt Consultants, Partners and Thought Leaders.
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