For many companies, organizational culture is crucial- it is one of the deciding factors that will make or break your company. Company culture is the standard of values and beliefs within which an organization conducts its business. But why does it matter?
While it may be tough to gather specific statistics on the matter, it is widely agreed upon that organizational culture has a direct impact on organizational performance, both long and short-term. Company culture lays out a guideline for individuals within the organization and has influence over the decisions they make and the attitudes and behaviors they convey to both customers and partners. A positive, adaptive company culture helps improve relationships in-house and out, and creates a personal connection between yourself and your customers. To successfully implement a change in organizational culture is to have your team represent those values and beliefs on a daily basis.
However, creating or changing company culture isn’t as easy as saying, “Alright, we all now care about solving problems for our customers after the sale. Now go!” In fact, instituting change to an organizational culture that has struggled to evolve can become quite a process. As UNEX Manufacturing has begun the process of evolving and adapting its organizational culture to an ever-changing time and industry, we have learned three very important lessons about shifting our company culture.
1. Create a clear strategy to reach your vision.
A strategy must be over-arching and broad, yet clear and devoid of vagaries. Saying “Provide better customer service” is not a clear strategy. There must be a means to reach that end. It becomes a strategy when you address the values and beliefs needed to reach that goal. “Provide better customer service by emphasizing relationships, empowering our employees to make changes, and by collaborating with each other and our customers to provide the best solutions for them.”
2. Commit from the top down.
This one is a no-brainer. Company culture cannot evolve unless top management and leadership are willing to grow and evolve as well. Whether they pursue it or not, your management leads by example. If the top level of your organization is living and breathing your new company culture, it’s just a matter of time for the rest of the company to follow suit.
3. Change the company to support the culture.
Sometimes existing systems and policies will stand in the way of a true culture shift. The only way to overcome those barriers is to simply remove them. Don’t throw out the whole rule book, however. It may be a simple matter of tweaking an existing procedure to provide more flexibility for your employees and customers. Whatever these changes may be, they should send a clear message that the old system is history.
Obviously, changing an entire culture in your company isn’t as easy as 1,2,3. It takes planning, time, and effort. Most importantly, it takes commitment across the board. If your team is ready and willing to evolve, cultivating a new company culture will be a breeze.