When mergers and acquisitions look at possibly taking over an organization, they look at the organizational culture because they know that the cultures of the two organizations must mesh. They must be able to blend together if there’s going to be a successful merger and acquisition.
Also, within an individual organization, successful leaders understand that a powerful, positive, successful organizational culture will only propel that organization faster and further and at least towards sustainability. It’s not just important being strong today; we need to be able to stay in business for the long haul.
So, how do we build a stronger, more effective organizational culture? There are several steps. First thing is, everyone must know what the strategic intent of the organization is. Everyone must be on the same page with regards to that strategic intent because everything we do serves that strategic intent.
In our individual departments, our strategic intent needs to build up to help the organizations achieve the strategic intent as a whole.
Second, and this may be the most important thing, our values must be in alignment. It’s very difficult to create a harmonious organizational culture when everyone has different value sets. We need to hire and attract individuals into the organization that have the same strong values and those values need to be identified by leadership. It’s all part of the process. When we all have similar values, when our values all support similar goals, then we can create a culture that is harmonious and productive.
The next step, number three, is that we need to put the culture in print. It needs to be in writing what our culture is. It’s like a mission or vision statement. It’s where we want to be and it’s something that will drive our actions.
Number four is that, we need to allow people in departments to express their individuality. They may have an individual twist to the culture. They may have their own little new ones. They serve the culture as a whole but we can’t squelch everyone’s individuality.
Number five is that, we need to let the culture be bigger than itself. We need to talk about it. We need to create stories. We need to be proud of our culture. It’s well known that Nortsdrom is a fanatical culture around customer service. And one of the stories it’s told is how one of the associate’s one time in order to satisfy a customer who was not happy with the performance of their automobile tires, the associate took the tires back. The only thing is Nortsdrom doesn’t sell tires. It’s a fantastic story and it gets the point across. It takes the message of what that organizational culture is and makes it bigger than everyone.
Number six, we need to encourage relationship building. As we build relationships within the organization, we look to serve each other and as we look to serve each other, we want to make sure that we’re on the same page with regards to culture.
And number seven, we need to look for ways to reward people when they are caught doing the right thing with regards to supporting the organizational culture. When we reinforce in a positive manner then people will only want to do it more. And we build a culture that we’re trying to build so we can build the organization that we know we can build.