Photo Credit: Piotr Lohunko
Bravo! It’s always an achievement to have a great culture. The hard work required to attain what most organizations struggle with should be recognized. The biggest mistake you can make now is to get complacent. Like the concept of entropy in physics, what isn’t maintained deteriorates. That is so very true in organizational life. Here’s what to do next:
Double-check to make sure you still have a great culture and determine its direction. Is it getting even better, or is it eroding? The way you find out is to feed organizational self-awareness through an experience study. That is, engage with employees and leadership alike to deeply explore what influences the culture and its people. Find out about the current state and how it’s lived. Identify opportunities for continuous learning and improvement. Develop/update your strategy and take purposeful action. Like a healthy lifestyle, the quality of a culture must be conscientiously assessed and managed. It’s not (just) about repeating what you think works well. Rather, it’s more about managing to the same results. There’s a difference.
2. ENSURE CONSISTENCY.
That being said, there are foundations that must remain consistent as hallmarks of the organization: vision, mission, values, and the behaviors that reflect them. This requires consistently managing your culture. Everything else is fluid and flexible.
If your organizational structure is separated by function, siloes, location, or some other factor, it takes concerted effort to ensure consistencies while also balancing what makes every work group special. Remember to leverage the unique strengths that come from the diversity of your employees.
Continuing to have a great culture is determined by the degree to which your organization can cultivate it on a long-term basis. Developing and following through on strategies helps to anchor day-to-day management of your culture with direction, purpose, meaning, and impact. These are unique to your organization and its context.
Needless to say, no amount of discussion or advice will help without true effort behind it. If you’ve already got a great culture, you’ve got the talent and ability to keep it. Best wishes on the New Year!
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