You bet, this is who we really are!

Amanda Dreher - Saturday, October 18, 2014

Ever wondered who your corporation really is? If you haven’t, you should. Infact, you should ask this on a regular basis. Your corporate culture is an ever changing and evolving, living and breathing animal. It is not some simple, static decree that you make once and it sticks. It is a whole system of inter-related moving parts that are reliant on each other.

Your corporate culture was not created in an isolated vacuum. Rather, the actions, the stories, even the goals of the past, present and future merge to shape the company you are now. These serve to shape the behaviors and beliefs of your people, your teams, your leaders, and your public. The corporate narrative, the values, the decisions, the rewards, the consequences all speak volumes about the company, both internally and externally.

Whether you choose to intentionally to build your corporate culture, or if it has just formed over time more organically, it will be there affecting your organization’s success. The big question then becomes, is your culture really reinforcing the values you state are your priorities?

If so, great job! Keep on doing what you are doing. If not, it is time to look at making changes that will better align the two. This can be a scary prospect. Questions of time, investment, invasiveness all come up. But, believe it or not, the quickest way to begin changing your corporate culture is simple, cheap and relatively quick.

The quickest way to begin changing your culture and reinforcing your values to create a new norm, is to begin with yourself and your leaders. Begin to take actions that demonstrate the new culture you are moving towards. You be the example.

For instance:

  • If you want collaboration to be a priority, begin to ask others to input into your projects.
  • If you want families to be a priority, begin by throwing a family friendly event.
  • If you want learning, build in time each week for your employees and yourself to research new developments in their field.
  • If you want more interaction and trust, begin simply by leaving your door open.
  • If you want a 24 hour response time, then you begin living by that standard.
  • If you want work/life balance, begin by turning your own computer off and unplugging in the evenings.

The example you set will catch on. People will begin to notice a difference. They may question, they may not trust it at first, but hang in there. Soon people will begin to like, to expect, and even to take on these new behaviors.

As a leader your team is watching you and constantly weighing where they stand and how they need to behave in order to succeed at your organization. You are leading by example whether you recognize it or not. Choose to recognize it and embrace it. Use your influence to demonstrate the corporate culture you desire for your organization and your team will follow.

By turning the expected behavioral norms upside down you will have people skeptically but hopefully asking, “Now wait a minute, is this who we really are?” And soon that question will shift into an enthusiastically emphatic answer of, “You bet this is who we really are.”

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