Archives For Culture

We hear about viAlice_door copysion, mission statements and values often enough, but why are they so important? Similar to Alice unsuccessfully trying to open the door to Wonderland, you must have the right keys to shape your company’s culture and reflect what you stand for.  They are the essence of your identity as an organization – your principles, beliefs, philosophies… and how you do business. Woven into the fabric of its culture, every work environment should strive to encourage positive values and discourage negative influences that affect behavior and outcomes. We all possess a moral compass, defined via our values, which directs how we treat others and conduct ourselves. As an organization, this can be a powerful tool to shape culture. Ultimately, it does not come back to the company, but its people…

Arguably self-awareness and integrity are an important subset of values, but self-awareness and the pursuit of the truth are so important that they should be on every company’s list of values. If integrity is best described by C.S. Lewis as “doing the right thing, even when nobody is watching,” having the ability to be completely honest about your own strengths, weaknesses, and biases is critical. In developing an authentic, sustainable culture this applies not only to the leadership team, but to every single employee. Self-awareness and integrity are easy to lose… and hard to win back. When cultures are failing there are root causes that must be identified, but that can rarely be fixed quickly – and certainly not by policy and procedural changes. During challenging times, leaders tend want to drink from the blue bottle and — ta da! – see that the company culture is fixed. Unfortunately, building, evolving and transforming cultures takes both time and hard work.

Here are 6 core “keys” that will help you to build toward an amazing organizational culture:

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Building and maintaining a strong, resilient organizational culture is one of the few phenomena that is truly all inclusive. Creating a successful company ethos depends on the positive collision of the right people (at all levels) and the right context. But what does it actually take to create a sustainable, remarkable company culture? The answer is complex, so over the next two weeks, we will look at culture first from a larger organizational perspective… and then again at ground level.

“It’s complicated” … A common response to developing organizational culture.

The lack of a clear, simple response as to how to build and sustain organizational culture is the reason most companies don’t have a great culture. All leaders theoretically want a great culture… and believe, if they repeat it enough, it will magically happen. However, wanting an amazing corporate culture and being willing (and committed) to creating one are two vastly different things.

Why? It’s just not obvious how to create a great organizational culture. After helping many clients through this exact same challenge, we know that there are some critical components in developing and maintaining an exceptional company culture.

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Innovation is the catalyst to growth. Innovation means doing something different, smarter or better that will make a positive difference.  Innovation applies to every aspect of your business – you can be innovative with products, services, methods or business processes.   Innovation is free and unlimited – if you actively tap into it as a leader.

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Incorporating innovation into your business can help you save time and money, and give you the competitive advantage to grow and adapt your business in the marketplace.  Because innovation refers to making things better, it can significantly increase the likelihood of your business succeeding. Research (and real life examples) have shown that businesses that innovate create more efficient work processes and have better motivation, productivity and performance overall.

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Every organization is comprised of people with different worldviews. It is inescapable – recent statistics indicate upwards of 90% of business’ have a culturally diverse workforce. What does this mean for you as a leader? It means… You Can Run, But You Cannot Hide. It means… if you want to succeed, Cultural Integration should become a critical component of your business strategy.

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We all have different worldviews based on our various life experiences. In today’s business environment, bringing people from different backgrounds together and appreciating the diversity of viewpoints and perspectives in a cohesive way becomes very complex. Cultural Integration is really, in its simplest form, about bringing those diverse people together to leverage the unique strengths of the individual parts to create a stronger, more competitive whole.

So what can you do to build Cultural Integration into your organization?

I have frequently done business in Japan throughout my career. It is interesting how the country and the culture have changed over time, but beneath its surface lies an extremely productive and effective society.

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To the outsider – or gaijin, as we are known to the locals – Japanese business customs appear to be so deeply entrenched in culture and tradition that they couldn’t possibly be applicable to the rest of the world. But don’t be too quick to write off the value that Japanese business practices offer the rest of the world… Continue Reading…