The rise of the importance of organization culture in the last few years has been quite striking.
No, wait. That’s not true. The rise in the realization of the importance of culture in the last few years has been striking.
Culture – the spoken and unspoken rules and mores by which an organization functions – has always been critical to company success. It’s only in recent years that more and more organization leaders have begun to fully understand their own ability to manage and, indeed, manipulate the culture to he best benefit of employees, customers and the organization as a whole.
But that cannot be accomplished in a “culture initiative” or efforts that focus on the few.
A “function of shared values”
Paul Hebert, author of the i2i blog, recently wrote on this, using research about the stickleback fish to make the point. (You’ll have to click through to his post to see the connection.) In part, Paul says:
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“Changing culture at a company is the result of many individuals changing in small ways, not just a few individual changing in big ways…
Culture is function of shared values. If only a few people have them – it is less likely to move through the entire employee population. The chances of a culture change are much greater IMHO – if you can demonstrate small changes in many people over time versus a simple “program” that’s launched in January and wrapped up in December.
If you want to really impact your corporate culture take a clue from the stickleback fish and plant many seeds of change throughout the organization. If you do have a reward and recognition program make sure it can be accessed and leveraged by the greatest number of people as possible.”
Values are no good just hanging on a wall
I’ve written repeatedly that your core values do you no good hanging on a plaque on the wall. They deliver little better result if only a few employees live them. Permeating your values through every employee such that every person knows how to live those values in their daily and, critically, knows why they should – that’s the basis of a strong organization culture.
Strategic recognition is a powerful, positive method to drive your values deep into your organization by consistently, frequently and specifically recognizing employees when they demonstrate those values at work.