The Currency of Culture
At the end of the day we need to operate viable businesses, and we all know there are many ways to get there. So much is said about culture and its impact on an overall business that many are wondering if they should care or invest in culture? What is the ROI? What is the currency of culture? It is performance. Culture contributes to the overall success of a business.
As I posted previously in "Money can't buy you culture," culture is not something that can be manufactured or copied. I believe strongly that a genuine culture that has grown organically, and is nurtured and owned by all in the company, will determine the difference between success and failure. You will never realize the value or potential value of culture if you fake it. What we have found is by tending to and recognizing the needs of culture, we have allowed it to grow and prosper.
The million dollar question: Do you have the leadership in place that is actively engaged at every level of the organization? Without leadership, vacuums will develop and they get filled with whatever they get filled with (both good and bad). It doesn't matter how great or special your culture is in the short term if the company at every level is not aligned with it. I know first hand that as a growing company we have struggled with this and have suffered the consequences.
I'm often asked to describe our culture and what makes it worthy of discussion now. Our culture can be described in one word: caring. We truly care for each other, our clients, the work, and the community. I like to think that we have created a heroic environment where everyone can be a superhero on any given day if they care enough to.
Being able to define your culture into a word or a few sentences (not an easy thing to do) is a great exercise for you and your team. Once you have defined it, you can begin to message around it. I love when asked in an interview to describe our culture, I can tell the candidate that it's a culture of caring and we invest in it because the ROI is performance!