Cultural limitations affect success

Leading Minds Network recent session with Charlie Coode from Culture 15 & Coode Associates explored how to place culture at the heart of business and overcome challenges that were a roadblock to success. That culture is central to the success, or failure, of any organisation is well-established. Yet most organisations believe they can’t or shouldn’t measure culture, or they confuse measuring employee engagement with measuring culture. 

There are global challenges to working across borders, cultures and languages and measuring and delivering the right cultural message is an intrinsic part of building a successful global team. Defining what workplace culture looks like in most organisations is vague, most easily described as being an organisation’s “DNA”. It is a short-cut to talk about the way an individual employer functions and the principles it lives by:

Limitations to great culture 

Discussing limiting attitudes and beliefs to building a successful culture, the session noted that:

  • Culture can be considered a ‘soft skill’ and not relevant to the operational success of the business
  • Culture matters less when more ‘important’ business tasks take over
  • Culture is a concern of HR alone

Where thinking can affect progression of a great cultural approach:

  • Describing culture in conceptual terms like ‘innovative’ or ‘agile’ that have little or no definition
  • Thinking of culture as a sentiment 
  • Aiming for a ‘good culture’ with no measure 
  • Treating culture as a communication exercise rather than a commitment to action 
  • A lack of direction amongst both leadership and teams where there is lack of knowledge of previous positive cultural experiences 

Key principals to great culture 

  • Culture must form part of the strategic narrative for the organisation
  • Leadership IS the culture. How leaders behave dictates how culture happens
  • Changing culture involves personal change 
  • Culture is both a major transformational programme and part of the day to day, overcoming the resistance to change 

Culturally diverse businesses will attract talented, ambitious, and globally minded professionals who are looking for opportunities for personal and professional growth. In a diverse workplace, employees given the opportunity to deliver unique contributions drive personal value and therefore loyalty. A company with cultural and cognitive diversity can be quicker to understand the needs of clients and prospects, meaning a more competitive and profitable business model. Demonstrating that your business is invested in fostering a culturally inclusive environment and prepared to challenge the status quo can drive a positive client response. 

Culture can and should be measured in a structured and vigorous way 

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