Does your corporate culture support your business ambitions?

It is pretty easy, these days, to get a detailed overview of a company’s business ambitions. For that, one has to read the dedicated segments present on most websites, or read annual reports, which are usually well-documented.

However, execution is what will make the difference between the “slogan” and the “vision”. An ambition has to be implemented, and that is where culture plays a big role.

We agree that corporate culture is essential in the sense that it should be compatible with the vision and guarantee the execution.

In other words, corporate culture will be a facilitator of the vision, rather than an obstacle, and it will ensure that the company “walks the talk”.

Therefore, we first need to define corporate culture.

Many established experts can provide a detailed answer involving several criteria.

However, let’s make it simple and focus on a definition that immediately sets the scene: “a corporate culture is defined by the worst behavior tolerated by management” aka “can you get away with murder?”.

With such a definition in mind, one can immediately spot how limitations and resistance to any change program, will occur. Unfortunately, bad behaviors, when tolerated, will easily offset any promoted, and much needed, behavior.

Whether a company manufactures trucks or delivers accounting services, it is mostly defined by their people, who are referred to as “talent” on most websites.

And since cultures are driven by people, let’s agree to run a simple exercise to help assess a corporate culture from the talent management angle.

Assess first what the existing situation is:

#1. Who do you promote?

What are the decision criteria? What is their track record in the company?

#2. Who do you keep?

What are the decision criteria? What is their track record in the company?

#3. How is performance assessed?

How are job skills defined?

#4. Who do you lay off?

What are the decision criteria? What is their track record in the company?

Then a forward-looking perspective:

#1. Who do you recruit?

What are the decision criteria?

#2. Who do you reject?

What are the decision criteria?

#3. Why do (interviewed) candidates refuse to join you?

Do you recognize and acknowledge their input?

#4. What is the content of the onboarding program?

Is it comprehensive? Does it effectively help reduce the learning curve of new hires?

In conclusion:

During the present business climate, companies need to challenge the status quo.

They face a clear disruption, experiencing a massive amount of uncertainty, and at the same time they are under pressure to demonstrate a sense of innovation and proximity, both with their clients and the market segments they address.

To build a strong organization able to ensure resilience and address its full business potential, a key question needs to be answered:

What culture do you want to promote?

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