What is Organizational Culture?
In the most simplistic of terms it is how things get done around a company. It can be observed in behaviors and interactions, but like the iceberg below the surface, its real depth is found in feelings and belief systems, in patterns of communication and in the basic emotions of trust and security. And, a healthy culture is key to an organization’s success in executing a great strategy.
What’s a “Healthy” Culture?
Healthy cultures get people up in the morning. Their team members are visibly engaged with each other. They don’t always agree, but they have healthy ways to debate topics and find better solutions than any one of the team members would’ve found on their own. Their energy is palpable. Engagement is high, as is accountability. Strangers will enter into an organization with a healthy culture, and get a sense of it very quickly.
What’s an “Unhealthy” Culture?
Unhealthy cultures are equally evident. There is a lack of trust and an underlying lack of security. Team members are more likely to stab each other in the back than to cover each other’s back. There is a lack of engagement and silos can be identified.
Hard Facts on the “Soft Stuff”
Culture has often been considered the soft side of the business. Many executives avoid dealing with cultural issues, partly because they think of them in qualitative terms. But there are some very hard facts about culture and real science to back it up. The most compelling data about culture is this: companies with healthy cultures, who develop strategies that play to the strengths of their culture, enjoy growth rates and profits more than two times those of companies with unhealthy cultures.