Don’t Get Too Focused on the Concept of Your Culture

June 23, 2022
June 23, 2022 Jamie Notter

Many leaders are intentional about their culture. They define it clearly and they over-communicate to staff about what it is, why it’s important, and what kind of behaviors they expect.

That is all super important, but it’s not enough. If you want your culture to be truly amazing, then it can’t just be an idea or a set of concepts—it must be actively managed.

For example, we worked with a division inside a large organization that was struggling with agility. Their response was to create a set of internal communications that stressed the importance of embracing change and being agile (literally, they had a slide deck that ended with “Don’t just say your agile—BE agile!”).

See also  What to Look for in a Culture Assessment

Okay…but what does that look like? If you want to create more agility in your organization, then you need to go beyond the concepts and actually change the way you do things. You want your people to be more agile? Then figure out what’s getting in their way:

  • Clarify decision making roles (and document it) so people don’t waste time getting approvals or input they don’t need.
  • Train your people in understanding their own profitability so you can then trust them to make purchasing decisions.
  • Train your people in conflict resolution so they can handle disagreements directly rather than sending it back up the chain to be resolved.
See also  Make Sure You're Doing Culture Change Management Right

Agility lives (and dies) inside your processes, procedures, policies, and even skills. So yes, you should be clear about the concepts in your culture, but don’t stop there. Actively build and nurture the culture you want with intentional change in the way you do things. This is why most of our projects include a culture coaching component, so we can help leaders stay on top of the many different aspects of culture change.

Jamie Notter

Jamie is an author and growth strategist at PROPEL, where he helps leaders integrate culture, strategy, and execution to achieve breakthrough performance and impact. He brings twenty-five years of experience to his work designing culture-driven businesses, and has specialized along the way in areas like conflict resolution and generations. Jamie is also the co-author of three books—Humanize, When Millennials Take Over, and The Non-Obvious Guide to Employee Engagement—and holds a Master’s in conflict resolution from George Mason and a certificate in Organization Development from Georgetown, where he serves as adjunct faculty.
Show Buttons
Hide Buttons