Expand Your Mind: Culture is the Key to Success

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Once dismissed as smoke and mirrors or touchy-feely nonsense, corporate culture is not recognized as the key to success. Not just the success of the company as a whole, but sub-cultures define the success of each team as you moved down the corporate ladder.

Culture drives success more than money; culture attracts talented people and, more often than not, cultural change is responsible for their leaving.

Culture is now recognized as a necessary part of a company’s overall strategy; leaders and managers who ignore workers’ focus on culture do so at their own peril.

“Companies that will perform well will nurture the factors that make their employees feel happier and engaged at work, more connected to overall results, and more motivated to make a strong contribution,” said Eileen Habelow, PhD., Randstad’s senior vice president of organizational development. “Going forward, companies can’t ignore culture. Rather, it should be addressed as a critical component of their overall business strategy.”

No where is talk cheaper than when it comes to corporate culture. Trust and authenticity, critical to any good culture are lost when positional leaders don’t walk the cultural talk.

“You can clearly identify what makes organizations successful and what is expected, when you look at how the leadership acts and what they value. That is even more important than performance management.”

What’s important when it comes to culture? Do generations really differ in what they want in culture? Various studies describe similar desires from all age groups—the difference seems more in their patience for achieving what they want. The top craving across groups is having the flexibility to balance their life and work.

It has been long said that the new generations have different needs but I can safely say as a leading executive recruitment professional, that most candidates I’ve met over the past few years, no matter what age, have very similar personal desires and needs.

Finally, the big question that always comes up: does a focus on culture pay off? And if so, how well?

There have been multiple studies over the last decade proving a resounding ‘yes’ to the question. One of the most recent comes from Raj Sisodia, author of Firms of Endearment, who offers up compelling statistics.

The publicly traded FoE companies studied returned 750% over 10 years while the S&P overall provided a 128% return. What is even more telling is that over the last 5 years, these same companies provided their investors 205% return, when the S&P lost 13%.

Wow! If those numbers don’t get your attention your people would be wise to leave and if your boss doesn’t get it you should find one who does.

Flickr image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pedroelcarvalho/2812091311/

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