Successful leaders recognize the need to adapt and enhance systems, processes, and even talent as they scale the business. Culture, however, is often overlooked. While your vision and values may stay constant, the nuance of culture can and should change as an organization evolves.
Culture is the engine that drives organizational performance. Individual contribution is always important and leaders should reward those who exceed expectations, but as a company grows, you have to focus on scalability. That means thinking systemically.
Having a compelling vision and a solid strategy is important, but you need more than words on a page. Foundational clarity around what an organization does and how it goes about doing the work comes from employees supporting the strategy through their own goals and living the company vision through their daily behaviors.
Company culture change, when done right, provides the why – the driving force that attracts people to your organization, encourages them to perform, and compels them to stay. Culture can provide the catalyst for your competitive advantage. It’s that important.
Scaling culture depends on strong, consistent leadership and the ability to develop advocates at the manager level. When first line people leaders understand and embody the culture, they model that behavior for new employees and serve as a clear comparator to those who don’t get it. To jump start your culture change adopt the following five actions:
- Keep it Short and Simple: Lose the complex mission / vision statements. Describe the company’s purpose in conversational terms.
- Hone Your Talent Brand: Clarify why employees should work for your company as opposed to the competition.
- Create an Employee Value Proposition(s): Get specific with core or high volume employee groups to clarify and even personalize the top line talent brand (Think of target customer marketing, but for employees.)
- Keep Your Promises: Ensure all your processes, from hire to retire back up your culture messages.
- Cultivate Leaders: Culture isn’t an HR thing. It’s an everyone thing. Centralize the message and then let it come to life through others.
Leaders who ignore this often wake one day to discover a fragmented brand surrounded by disengaged stakeholders.
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