Culture is the often overlooked, all-pervasive, enterprise-wide, organisational DNA that dictates whether your strategy lands or if your brand sustains. It's "a way to be" shaped by the past but continuously honed by the emerging business, social, economic, political and customer context. Culture is managed from the outside-in but demands leadership from the inside-out. The four essential, supporting pillars of culture are:
- Mission (why do we do what we do?)
- Diversity (diversity fuels innovation)
- Brand (why buy from us?)
- Speed (Focus - Anticipation - Simplicity - Technology)
The four pillars act like the foundation of a house. If they are poorly constructed nothing will stand for very long. Those four pillars are braced by the organisation's values. The organisation's values must hold meaning for all of the stakeholders, especially the customer.
Bringing the intended culture to life means also working on:
- Core processes;
- The nature and degree of freedom to act (how decisions get made and who makes them); and
- How people learn (learning how to learn, speed of learning)
All of the elements described come together to shape the organisation's story. Culture is story and story is culture. When top talent is evermore difficult to find and attract, a winning story is essential. Talent isn't attracted to your balance sheet; they want to join your firm because they love your story. And they stay, not because they swoon over your strategy but, because they are a happy captive of your culture.
Insights from "The 7 Questions Every CEO Should Ask About Culture".