Culture–your organization’s hidden asset

culture as competitive tool

According to Fortune and its latest research on the 100 Best Companies to Work For, culture is “the secret to business success.” This Fortune issue reinforces the importance of workplace culture and the trend that culture is a competitive tool.

Steps to make culture your competitive tool

Similarly, based on my research and practice, making culture your competitive tool doesn’t just easily happen. It involves a few key steps and an ongoing and unwavering focus.

First, you must clearly define and communicate the principles and values that your company holds as core to the culture. This culture assessment process must be an organization-wide process. Yes, everyone must be involved, to some degree, in participating. Yes, leadership can make the final decision, but smart leaders listen to employees. Therefore, a culture assessment collects employee views so they can be incorporated into the decision-making process. Defining core principles and values includes not only defining your organization’s Purpose, its distinctive Philosophy, and its strategic Priorities, but also identifying the universal Priorities to focus on in order to have an engaged workforce.

Next, is alignment. You must align all Practices–internal and external–and the images you Project to the public with the core culture. Alignment hinges on a key area: hiring. You must hire for culture fit. If your employees are passionate about your organization’s core principles and values, you have a better chance that they will practice those principles and values. The Purpose of the organization must feel meaningful to the employee. Additionally, there must be harmony. Harmony between the organization’s core principles and values and the employee’s principles and values.

Alignment of Practices and Projections is an ongoing process. The never-ending aim is to embed the core culture principles and values deep into every facet of the organization.

These steps are critical for culture to successfully be a competitive tool. It’s not a simple process, but those companies that get it and live it excel.

Make culture your competitive tool. Be true to your core values and ensure that your universal Priorities incorporate a climate that is engaging and humane to its workers. Let your culture be your secret to business success.

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