What’s the difference between organizations that thrive and those that become stagnant? Culture.
So, what is culture and why is it important? “Culture” is defined as the values, beliefs and behaviors of a particular group. It’s important to note that a company’s culture isn’t solely defined by a written mission statement or core values. It may start there, but it goes beyond that to the observable behaviors and relationships within the organization.
Companies like Google are known for cultivating cultures that inspire creativity. While some of these elements of culture are very tangible—such as décor, on-site video games and well-stocked snack rooms—others are less visible. For example, in Google’s culture, there’s little corporate hierarchy, and each person wears many different hats.
And while this sounds fun, wonderful and innovative, one question remains. Is there any proof that culture can impact productivity?
Not until now. Dr. Larry Weinzimmer, professor of strategic management at Bradley University and best-selling business author, has researched and developed a statistically valid measurement tool that is used to quantify and compare organizations’ cultures.
According to Dr. Weinzimmer, there are seven dimensions of culture that can be measured, compared and modified to positively affect an organization’s productivity. Some of those cultural dimensions include strategic orientation, employee development and risk tolerance.
All seven dimensions are measured based on responses from individuals throughout the company—from the bottom of the ranks to the top of the corporate ladder. Comparing these results with those of successful organizations, recommendations can be made which will lead to change within the company. Or, at least, they should. As we all know, the “should” is often the hardest part of any change. This is especially true when it comes to modifying culture.
Ready. Set. Lead.
The leaders of an organization should start by defining what type of culture is most effective in their industry. They should also consider working with consultants who can measure existing cultural dimensions and provide comparative cultural data. But more than just identifying and evaluating the current culture, leaders need to communicate the organization’s values—and live them out every day.
How can a leader do this, along with everything else he or she must accomplish each day? By first identifying the cultural dimensions likely to have the greatest impact on their own organization. Although three of the seven dimensions are typically the most critical, in some cases, others stand out as the most significant for a particular company. By taking steps to measure and modify cultural characteristics, you will be ready to take your organization to the next level of success. iBi