Building The Organizational Culture

An organization’s culture is shaped as the organization faces external and internal challenges and learns how to deal with them. When the organization’s way of doing business provides a successful adaptation to environmental challenges and ensures success, those values are retained. These values and ways of doing business are taught to new members as the way to do business (Schein, 1992).

The factors that are most important in the creation of an organization’s culture include Leadership (founders’) values, preferences, and industry demands.[1]

Most of the organizations that have been able to build strong structures, would testify to these truths:

  1. Creating culture requires an intentional plan
  2. People do what they see
  3. Systems are critical – Systems create habits and habits create behaviors and behaviors create culture. [2]

A winning culture has two defining characteristics:

  • A unique personality and soul based on shared values and heritage.
  • Cultural norms and behaviors that translate the organization’s unique personality and soul into customer-focused actions and bottom-line results.[3]

When you are defining the culture for your new organization, or the team, you set a culture that defines the performance and happiness of you and your colleagues…. This means that as a leader your company culture is you; the good and bad of how you behave and handle situations will be how your team handles the situation…. Next time you look at your team and see something in your culture you don’t like, the first thing you should do is look at yourself.

  • Search for your blind spots.
  • Lead by example
  • Show humility and accountability
  • Set, maintain, and improve the standards

Think about the changes you want to see and then take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask yourself how you can be part of the solution through your actions.[4]

One should be able to lay hands on a wide variety of literature relating ‘How to build a (winning) culture?’. It would be advisable to browse through the ones that seem more relevant to your context and needs. Here is one such model: Building Company Culture The Right Way –  Kate Heinz, Use this exposure to provide you a broad theoretical framework. In the end, you will work your won, your very own, method.

Suggested additional readings- Illustrative:

[1] How Are Cultures Created?

[2] How can you create the culture you want?

[3] Creating and Sustaining a Winning Culture – Paul Meehan, Darrell Rigby, and Paul Rogers

[4] The One Key to Building and Keeping a Great Company Culture