Company Culture impacts everything. It impacts behaviour, the actions people take daily, the way we communicate and how we treat each other.  It even influences the way people think and feel.  More than anything it has a direct impact on your ability to successfully execute strategy and improve performance.
 
Here’s why.

Culture defined.

Quite simply Culture is the Sum of all individual behaviour.  In other words if you took the time to watch and quantify how each and every person in an organisation or team acted and behaved, you would get a pretty clear picture of what the culture was like.

Naturally culture can vary widely. Imagine for a moment the differences that might exist between a team on an Oil Rig, a young start up in Silicon Valley and a Stock Broking Team on Wall Street.  Without even being there you can start to get a reasonable picture of the differences.

Ultimately there are a very defined set of behaviours that together form the unique DNA or culture of each team, department and organisation.

Execution

And here is why Culture and Execution are Blood Brothers.

When you define a goal, objective or strategy there is a specific set of behaviours required to achieve a successful outcome.  Act and behave in the wrong way and you fail. Get it right and success is yours.

So one of the first questions a leader needs to ask once an objective has been set is, ‘how do we need to behave in order to achieve this objective’?

Mismatch

Now…the BIG problem comes when the action and behaviour required to achieve an outcome, is different from the actions and behaviour demonstrated as the current company culture. That kind of mismatch can mean anything from just poor performance to outright and miserable failure.

What this means is that you cannot separate Culture and Execution …they are blood brothers.

To Be Successful

To be successful you must deliberately choose the behaviour required for success.

Be absolutely clear on Team Goals & Objectives (they need to be crystal clear & measurable). THEN, ask the team this question:

“How would we need to behave to achieve these goals/objectives?”

Have the team contribute their thoughts by asking each person to write down 2 or 3 statements that begin with, “we WILL” and “we WILL NOT”.

Do this individually first, then workshop the answers into a handful of (5 or 6) powerful statements that the team agree with and buy in to.

This will drive black and white clarity on the required behaviour.

Here are some of our client examples:

1.     We will not work in silos. We are interdependent. Everyone is critical to success.
2.     We will not tolerate BS.
3.     We will not blame others. We all take responsibility for Team Performance.
4.     We will tackle difficult issues…and not pretend they don’t exist.
5.     We will not watch people fail (we will not say “that’s someone else’s problem!”)
6.     We will do what we say we will do.
7.     We will work extremely hard but we do not allow burnout.
8.     We will leave ‘egos’ and ‘baggage’ at the door.

THE BIG QUESTION

The BIG question to ask is this:  Does the behavior required for success match our current culture?

Have a Great Week
Mark Bragg & Martin West