The cultural advantage
April 20, 2016
We're on a mission to help leaders create inspiring cultures, engage their people, and ensure they avoid the mistakes of those who’ve never quite achieved moving beyond superficial conversations about culture.
Conversations about culture can be paralysing for many leaders. A quick google search for 'what is culture?' returns 1,480,000,000 links. Everyone has their own understanding, and everyone has a theory.
We believe, culture is the environment the business and it's people operate in (both the physical and intangible environment). Just like humans, each culture has unique traits that both exist naturally and are developed. These unique traits of each human exist, despite all human kind sharing six basic elements. In a similar manner, the culture of a business (and it's unique traits) are built upon base elements:
- A distinctive company purpose,
- A tangible vision, and
- A set of shared values
In plainer English these elements are, why we exist as a business (beyond making a profit), where we’re going, and how we’re going to get there.
When there's a shared understanding of these base cultural elements, an entire business embraces the same rules of operation and engagement. Leaders build rapport with their people. People develop a common understanding of what matters the most. Conversations become more human. And you create memorable experiences. This is the cultural advantage and it's leaders who create the environment for this to occur.
The most profound thing I’ve read on culture (from the 1,480,000,000 google links) is that “culture is a combination of something that happens naturally and something that is intentionally designed.” So culture is not completely within your control as a leader. But you have a responsibility to influence it.
As a leader, start by owning the conversation about what truly matters to your business, your purpose and where you’re going. Then consider how you can intentionally design experiences that encourages your people to participate in bringing your purpose, vision and values to life.
Also see: What great leaders have in common