I attended a conference recently when someone asked me, “What exactly is a good culture?” That was a great question, considering that a lot of people don’t understand what it is or why it is important. And here was my answer: “Good culture is your team’s understanding of how they are to behave even when you are not around.”
Without that definition, it’s easy to ignore the impact and importance of culture. But when people understand it in those terms, they see why it impacts everything that their employees do. And they understand the precarious predicament they put themselves if they don’t take their culture seriously.
Here are five ways that a good culture benefits your organization.
1. Good culture makes your job easier.
With a good culture, you don’t have to be everywhere. Your team understands what is expected of them and they are able to do what you would want them to do as if you were there with them. That frees you up to focus on other things.
If you don’t focus on building your culture, then you will have confusion among the staff and you will have to work a lot more to resolve the issues that come up.
Empowering your people to process the implications of the culture will allow you to handle bigger picture issues and free you up from the day to day.
2. Good culture creates team cohesion.
When your team understands what is expected of them, it produces a good team spirit. It gives them clarity about what makes the organization unique, a common bond among your team, and a defining feature of who they are as an organization.
When culture doesn’t provide that definition, then people can have confusion about who they are as an organization. As a result, you do not have control over the cultural environment, and your employees do. And if you do not hire your team for cultural fit, your employees will create a culture that is not to your choosing.
By providing your team with a defined cultural environment, you give your team the stability and comfort of knowing what to expect. And that provides for happier employees.
3. Good culture provides a consistent customer experience.
When you have a well-defined culture, you create a consistent experience for your customers. Your customers will know what to expect from their interactions with your organization because you have taken the time to spell out to your employees how they should treat customers.
If you do not provide your employees with a solid definition of the desired culture, then your customers will have an inconsistent experience at best—and an unpleasant experience at worst.
By giving your team the cultural template for interfacing with customers, you provide that guiding definition to govern the little things they do that make a big difference.
4. Good culture solidifies your brand.
When your culture consistently defines customer experiences, then that provides the foundation for your brand. You will have a well-defined brand if you pay attention to the thousand little things that make up the customer experiences that formulate their perceptions of your organization.
If you do not provide a consistent cultural guide for your customer actions, then that will produce confusion in the minds of your customers. And customer confusion kills your brand.
Cultural guard rails provide for well-channeled customer experiences that lead to clear customer expectations and strong brand cohesion.
5. Good culture helps you achieve your goals.
When your culture is well defined and you have clarity among your team on the little things, then that provides a good foundation for the big things. Your staff will be more unified in their approach to organizational goals.
If your team looks at organizational goals based on their independent judgment of their personal goals, they may not give the same priority to organizational goals as you would. And that will prevent the organization from moving forward together.
When everyone consistently sees the importance of how they do what they do supports the overall organization’s goals, then that gives the organization the best footing.
Your culture can be your best friend or your worst enemy. When you intentionally and consistently build your culture, you will build your team, create consistent customer experiences, and solidify your brand—and that will help you reach your goals, which will ultimately make your job easier. But if you ignore your culture, then you will create confusion, inconsistency, and silos, which will work against you and make your job harder. Your choice.
Robert McFarland is the author of the bestsellers, Dear Boss: What Your Employees Wish You Knew and Dear Employee: What Your Boss Wishes You Knew. Robert is also President of Transformational Impact LLC, a leadership development consultancy helping companies be who they say they are by making their ideals actionable at the nexus of brand and culture.
Did you know that I
* Perform organizational culture assessments,
* Coach leaders how best to lead their teams, and
* Train teams how to best perform like a team?
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