Many of the organizations we work with have a culture by default.  If you are looking to grow, attract and retain talent and be a leader in your segment, cultures by default don’t usually deliver talent and high performance.  They are most often the shadow of a dynamic personality, the remnant of a start-up or the thing we know we need to do that never gets done.

Let’s lay down one definition before we go further.

What are we referring to when we say the word culture?  Let’s keep it simple and say, “Culture is the way we do things around here.”  This includes commonly held beliefs, stories, artifacts, processes, and behaviors.

So, why do we think culture by design is important?

  • Organizations with cultures by design outperform those organizations whose culture “just happened.”
  • Organizations who are intentional about culture infuse meaning into their values, tenants, mission, and vision for the future.  Behavior matters and accountability is not a bad word.
  • Organizations with great cultures attract and retain top talent.
  • Organizations who are thoughtful about their culture are most often thoughtful about their people.  They invest in people.
  • Organizations with great cultures do well with strategic execution.
  • Finally, intentionally designed cultures are often socially minded and are finding ways to give back in meaningful ways.

We are often asked, “How do we design and implement a great culture?”  There are several culture tools in the marketplace.  We have chosen to work with the Denison Culture Survey.  It has the world’s only verifiable database.  Your employee’s responses to the 60 questions in the survey are normed into their database with the responses of thousands of other employees who have answered the same 60 questions.  It’s visual.  It’s easy to understand yet incredibly rich.  It gives you the data you need to design and begin to implement a culture that delivers all we’ve mentioned above.

Let’s close with this.  We are big advocates of common language and common tools.  Simplicity and accessibility matter.  Culture doesn’t have to be mysterious and “soft.”  Cultures by design outperform cultures by default nearly every time.  There’s no time like now to get intentional about your organization’s culture!