Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first

corporate-culture

A healthy culture is often considered an optional enhancement. It's not! It's the foundation of sustainable high performance. 

Creating a vibrant corporate culture can be challenging because it requires careful nurturing. But it's worth it. Understanding how to deliberately guide the culture along as it lifts the organization to new heights can be one of the most rewarding skills an influential leader can develop.

"If I had to give one reason why I have been fortunate enough to experience some success, it would be my knack of bringing together wonderful people."
~ Sir Richard Branson , Author of Finding My Virginity: The New Autobiography

Enhanced Engagement

"Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first."
~ Simon Sinek , Author of Start with Why

High performance begins with a highly engaging purpose. Employees that believe in the purpose of the organization will not only engage their hands, but also their hearts and minds. Likewise, customers that believe in the value of the organization will not only support it with their business, but also with their voices. They will become powerful evangelists for your cause.

"To win in the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace."
~ Douglas Conant , Conant Leadership

The purpose of the organization is reinforced through the establishment of objectives and Key Behavioral Indicators (KBIs) strategically aligned to promote ideal behaviors at every level and within every unit throughout the organization. Objectives and metrics that are not aligned with the purpose of the organization will certainly dilute it. Metrics that are designed to encourage ideal behaviors will naturally drive sustainable high performance.

"I used to believe that culture was 'soft' and had little bearing on our bottom line. What I believe today is that our culture has everything to do with our bottom line, now and into the future."
~ Vern Dosch , Author of Wired Differentlywith Wally Goulet and Tracy Finneman

Organizations achieve high levels of performance by fostering high levels of employee engagement through alignment with an engaging purpose. High performance in not sustainable without engaged employees that believe in the value of the work they do.

Purpose-Driven Decision Making

"In our early years, we didn't talk about culture much. We hadn't documented it all. We just built a business that we wanted to work in. And, that was great. But the real return on culture happened when we started getting more deliberate about it. By writing it down. By debating it. By taking it apart, polishing the pieces and putting it back together. Iterating. Again. And again."
~ Dharmesh Shah , Co-founder, Hubspot

Even organizations that believe in the importance of a vibrant corporate culture don't always realize how big of a role they can play in its development. The effective enhancement of corporate culture requires constant attention and deliberate action. Every decision, even the seemingly small and inconsequential ones, can have a significant impact on culture. Every decision and action made by the leaders and managers of the organization need to support the enhancement of the desired culture.

"Leadership is not domination, but the art of persuading people to work toward a common goal."
~ Daniel Golemon , Author of Emotional Intelligence

A vibrant culture, strategically cascaded throughout the organization, guides the decisions made at every level. When decision-makers believe in the culture and understand their influence on it, they carefully consider the impact of their decisions on the culture before they make them. In this way, corporate culture guides decisions and unites efforts without the need of an overbearing and dictatorial leadership.

Sustainable Improvements

"Organizations that do not have a culture of problem solving and allow or even reward work-arounds have weak links throughout their value chain."
~ Gerhard Plenert & Tom Cluley , Authors of Driving Strategy to Execution Using Lean Six Sigma

Organizations will often apply one improvement tool after another only to achieve temporary gains in performance. Tools are effective for the tasks to which they apply but they are not effective alone in driving organizations to sustainable high levels of performance. Only culture can do that. Sustainable high performance is developed through a vibrant culture of problem solving and continuous improvement. Improvement tools without a supporting culture of continuous improvement will always only produce short-lived wins.

"Corporate culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage that is completely within the control of the entrepreneur."
~ David Cummings , Co-founder, Pardot

Conclusion

A corporate culture will exist in every organization with or without deliberate intervention. Culture can be designed to establish and sustain high performance, or it can be allowed to prevent it. It can work for you, or it can work against you. Organizations that achieve sustainable high performance have embraced the necessity of developing a vibrant and empowering corporate culture. It is through corporate culture that your organization can establish a truly unmatched competitive advantage. Your tools, your strategy, your marketing approach, every strength your organization may have, can all be copied by your competition. But, your unique culture and the fantastic individuals contributing to it can never be duplicated. Culture is the only way to establish a truly unreproducible position in the marketplace.

Original article written and posted by Joshua Plenert, author and lecturer  

Four Traits of Customer-Centric Leaders
 
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