Let’s be clear right from the start – this has nothing to do with the social dynamics of how people are self-identifying themselves with respect to gender, race or any of the other elements protected under the constitution of this United States. Today we are looking at the identification with your organization’s Core Purpose, Core Values and Culture.
For the past 30+ years, JKL Associates has had the honor and privilege to work with many businesses in a variety of industries. We have navigated both very robust times and some very ugly and scary times. Through all these different sets of situations it has become very clear that those organizations which have a solid foundation not only survive but thrive regardless of what strong winds they are up against.
What contributes to their solid foundation?
The simple answer is Culture. Each of these businesses, whether consciously or unconsciously, have a set of principles by which leadership makes decisions and treats all of its people consistently and routinely in a way which make them feel welcome and valuable.
Let’s recall a client where we were invited in for a particular challenge they were experiencing. The actual situation is not what is important here but the means by which they were navigating it is what ultimately help align them for the moment but more so for the future. The business had a number of years of success and for all intensive purpose was doing quite well. As they grew both organically and via acquisitions, the leadership had grown soft on the original foundation which built the business. It had not gone away but with all the new people, leadership just believed they would catch on and somehow gravitate to the culture which was present in the past. This was unfortunately an oversight on leadership’s part. As the organization grew so did the demands on everyone and little attention was given to passing along the foundation of the business.
We did some initial discovery gathering and what the general understating was of the culture and what the leadership expected it to be were somewhat different. It was not a total misalignment but enough where decisions being made at different levels were based on different criterion thus resulting in different outcomes.
Various people were self-identifying with any number of cultural aspects they picked and choose from. Some were part of the organization’s rich history and some trickled in as new hires and new acquisitions took place. Leadership was so focused on activity they missed bringing everyone onto the same cultural page.
Fast forward to an effort where leadership took time to capture the definitive Purpose, Values and Principles by which the growth and future of the organization was to be operated within. To be honest, it was painful for them, and it took a few cycles to finally get it boiled down to the few critical elements rather than the bushel basket of nice likes and wants.
In a more recent follow up, one of the leaders told me that the experience at the time was painful and they knew why they and many other organizations don’t take the time to go through the process. The challenges and conflict it causes were at the center of the drifting decisions in the organization. They are not fully on board with their culture platform, and everyone knows the key elements. Decisions are regularly challenged as to how they impact the business, the customer, vendors etc. If it is not in alignment, then go back to the drawing board until it works in the culture.
Having challenges with people in your organization self-identifying with cultural aspects that are causing weak decision making or even worse – drama? Give your Promise Culture guide a call at MI (313-527-7945) or FL (407) 984-7246
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