The 'Why' of Culture

Companies that are preferred workplaces invariably lead their industry rankings in customer satisfaction and usually leadership rankings as well.  That is how relevant Culture is to any organisation. Culture seems to have developed two perceptions– one that it is defined by perks and benefits - from sleep pods to frozen eggs! The other - that it is a set of moralistic wisdom and gyaan splattered across posters and coasters. The reality is different and the truth is interesting.

The reality is that Culture is a set of shared and commonly-held beliefs and values that align behaviour in the direction of the common goal.

The truth is that nothing could be simpler to achieve.

What people really value is clarity of purpose, consistency of direction and relationships that are dependable and trustworthy. Of course, the ingredients that go into making the Culture unique are dependent on what really matters, and vary from organisation to organisation, but the basic recipe for a wholesome and nutritious culture are the same: Defined by Vision, driven by Core Values, operationalised by Guiding Principles, and brought to life by Key Behaviours.

Yet, simple as it is - there are many barriers to enabling a uniform culture. Individualism, politics, insecurity, myopia, ad-hoc-ism - the list is as long as the fads we endure on social media every year! Enron andVolkswagen are examples within our recent memories. But this is something that one must protect from, in designing your culture. The easiest way is to integrate and link practices and processes in such a way that they all stand to serve the common Vision.  

As a business leader, one wonders whether or not we have aCulture in our organisation. The answer is that every organisation has aCulture. The question really is, is our Culture one of our choosing or one by default?  

Today, more than ever, organisations should be thinking proactively of the culture they would like to build in order to be best prepared for the new realities of the post-pandemic landscape.

We must ask ourselves how we see the contours of our business changing, and what the most necessary behaviours and mindsets would be that would assist us in identifying and adapting to the New Normal.

Our response will be the first step to a new Culture.

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