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Beware – Culture is Caught not Taught…

  • Posted by Judy Reynolds 22 Apr
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Beware – Culture is Caught not Taught…

One of the biggest challenges for an organisation is to maintain a strong consistent culture especially if you are experiencing high turnover of employees or when high growth is occurring.

Owners of successful businesses really understand why they do what they do, and create a culture which reflects their beliefs and values.  This strong culture enables an environment that encourages behaviours, which are on purpose and aligned to achieving a pre-determined outcome.

Long-standing employees have been immersed in the culture for some time… they understand it and promote it.  They were originally recruited because of their culture fit, their attitude and values.

Customers experience a consistent approach to service and care from all of the team… they are not confused by an inconsistent experience and therefore feel comfortable… comfortable enough to buy regularly and remain in a buying relationship for the longer term.

Under normal conditions when employee turnover is low, employers can rely on their team to demonstrate the culture – to walk the talk – and the new team member “catches” that culture without the need for a rigorous, formal ongoing program.

In periods of high growth, particularly when the candidate pool is limited and when employers look overseas to fill positions, the culture of the organisation can be seriously diluted.  Different values and beliefs are introduced, the purpose of the organisation is not as clearly understood, the “tribal elders” have moved on or become less able to influence an ever-increasing workforce.

It is time to revisit and to establish that the culture you had created and which had contributed to the past success of your organisation is still valid.  Be clear that, should you choose to accept a different set of values for your organisation, they must be consistent with your own values and beliefs otherwise you will not be able to sustain a focussed long-term commitment to business success.

Understand what the culture needs to look like, what values are not negotiable and what behaviours you are encouraging.

Remember, culture is caught not taught… the culture that is loudest will prevail.  This means that you must continually and consistently promote your chosen culture, reward those who embrace it.  Address the behaviours that are not appropriate immediately and without exception.  No action suggests that you are condoning the activity.  Walk the talk.

It is critical that your leadership team “get it” and together you create a movement towards an absolute commitment to the culture.

Your induction program introduces how serious you are about your culture and then it is critical that you regularly revisit and endorse it. It simply becomes how you do business.  Value statements should be discussed often… what do they mean, and how might they play out in your organisation… consider incorporating into your meeting agendas, into your training sessions, or your “state of the nation” reports.

Don’t be shy… promote the values which underlie your culture without apology.

At Opening Gates our CULTURE COLLABORATIVES bring the team together, to establish and understand the culture of the organisation – why it is critical to their success, and how it drives values and behaviours that add value to all stakeholders. We address why you do what you do – we understand the concept of 360 degree leadership – a very powerful way of building a strong focussed team.

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