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How To Identify and Optimize Your Corporate Culture

Corporate Culture HeartUnderstanding Corporate Culture Is Important

Culture is the environment around you at work.  Whenever people come in contact with some of the members of a company, it only takes them a few moments to determine what the overall culture is.  For instance, you know almost immediately that you will look horribly overdressed if you walk into a Quicksilver store wearing an Armani suit.  However, it isn’t just about clothing.  Company culture involves a great deal of other elements and you must be aware of all of these.  Another thing to be highly aware of is whether your company culture evolved on its own, or whether it was designed based on the passion for the core values that you should have.  You must be able to identify the culture your company operates by in order to find out what your strengths are, and whether there are any areas for improvement to focus on.

Cultural Fit 

While we know that individuals have unique styles, companies also tend to formulate their own personality or culture.   This culture develops from the combination of behaviors, values, challenges and attitudes that most people in the company take for granted.   It can be described as “the way we do things.”

There are several factors to consider when assessing a company’s culture.   One of the main variables that influences the culture of any organization is its dominance.

“The dominance of a company helps formulate its culture.  Things like size and hierarchical structure are things an applicant should research prior to accepting an interview.”  Finding Your Fit: The Importance of Company Culture

Some companies have strong hierarchical structures, whereas others operate on a relaxed, horizontal management style.  There are no right or wrong answers, but being aware of this dominance is very important in terms of either hiring the right people that fit the culture or applying for a job where you will feel comfortable.  After all, if applicants can’t sign up to a certain culture, then they will not be able to do their job properly either.

Understanding the Different Types 

It is said that there are actually only four different cultures.  However, most companies use a combination of the four.  Understanding their name and characteristics, however, is an important step towards getting to grips with the culture that exists in your own organization.  The four types are role culture, personal culture, task culture and power culture.

“Power culture: This is where there is a strong central figure, for example, entrepreneurial start ups or where a charismatic founder has developed the organization.”  Reviewing Your Organisation’s Culture

In the role culture, the emphasis is on individual roles and we often see a rigid structure.  In personal cultures, the individual is given a central role and emphasis is on promotion and development of individuals.  Finally, in the task culture, the focus is on the job at hand meaning that teams are often very flexible as they get deployed as and when necessary.

Again, there are no right or wrong answers or cultures.  What matters is that you understand which one your organization fits in the most, and whether that is actually the culture you want to achieve.  Perhaps you will find that there is a strong focus on roles, when you would prefer an organization that focuses on tasks.  By being aware of it, you will be better able to make changes.

Everything FiSC Facilitator ReportAssessing Your Company, Group and Team Cultures

One way to get insights into your team, group, and company cultures is to assess your organization from a behavioral aspect.  The Everything DiSC instruments are time tested behavioral assessments used by corporations around the world.  People often neglect to consider how their environment affects them.  But the culture of every group or team within an organization has a powerful influence on the overall culture.  Learning the importance of group culture and understanding the values, challenges, advantages and disadvantages of their group is important.  With this knowledge, the organization can then explore how to contribute most effectively within their culture.

Everything DiSC Group Culture ReportEach individual Everything DiSC Profile can be combined to run group reports.  Participants are introduced to group culture by considering the sources of culture and its effect on people.  The Everything DiSC Facilitator Report or Everything DiSC Group Culture Report are used to explore the culture of their team and to understand how they react to the culture represented most prominently in their group.

Participants then have a chance to explore how their unique motivators, strengths and challenges help define the group’s culture.  They gain a deeper appreciation of the contribution of each person.  With this knowledge, teams and organizations are better equipped to take advantage of their strengths and avoid the pitfalls of working in a group.  This individual, team, and group insights give clarity to your organizational culture providing tools for positive growth and success.

While DiSC does not address all elements of culture, it helps people understand many important needs, goals, fears, emotions and behaviors that contribute to it.  Participants use DiSC to explore their group culture and understand all of its implications and they explore ways to contribute most effectively within their culture.

How to Evaluate and Change Your Company Culture

Taking time to evaluate your company’s culture is incredibly important, as is changing it if it is going in a direction you do not like.  You also have to understand that it is in a constant state of flux.  As people come and go in your organization, they bring different beliefs, ways of working and values with them that will influence the overall culture.  However, one thing to always keep in mind is that it all starts and finishes at the top.

“When you want changes to be made, you’ll have to be the one to get the ball rolling.” 
Determining Your Company’s Culture

Leaders should develop ideas together with those who are affected by it, and then make the decision to actually roll it out.  It is their responsibility to monitor if any changes are accepted or rejected and whether or not any improvements are actually being felt.  One of the most important things, however, is that your culture matches your core values.

“Is the culture aligned with the overall mission?  Are company values mirrored in the culture?  If not, how can you integrate company mission, vision and values better?”  How to Evaluate Your Current Company Culture

A company that doesn’t have the issues aligned will often have a confused air, where certain people simply won’t know where they belong.  This makes it difficult to adequately manage them as well.  Any company with a conflicting culture is a company with conflicting values and conflicting information.  This is problematic in terms of your customer service, your efficiency and your profitability.

You must also remember the importance of involving everybody across the board in the development of the company’s culture.  Your employees are the lifeblood of your organization and you must make sure that your culture reflects this.  This means that you have to have a great understanding of the key aspects of jobs and workplaces within your company.

“Determine to what degree the following will play a role in the job and the workplace.  One way or the other, combined, they all play a role in determining culture.”  5 Ways To Determine Corporate Culture

One way to achieve this is by performing an employee survey, where you ask all participants to assign scores from one to five to each of the elements that are important for their personal job satisfaction.  You could ask about generic things, such as team work, working hours, professional development, opportunities for growth and remuneration.  However, you could also ask questions about any potential changes you may want to implement, such as telecommuting, working from a home office, shared offices, hot desks and so on.

In Closing

You must remember that it is important to be aware of your company culture.  It will develop whether you are aware of it or not, but it could develop in the wrong direction if you don’t focus on it.  A good culture is adaptive to change and focuses strongly in meeting the goals and needs of a business.  This is what will allow them to stay ahead of their competition.  Studies have demonstrated that those companies with a clearly defined culture can outperform their competition by as much as 200%.  This really demonstrates just how important it is to get it right and how much of a difference it can actually make.

About 

Co-owner/Co-founder of Intesi! Resources. Educated as an architect I transitioned to technology during my career in architecture. Intesi! Resources was founded in 2002 and my focus is everything Web/eCommerce related from the design and development of our site to all the marketing activities involved. I also provide significant support for our clients on all our products and how they are used to deliver assessment-driven learning solutions that develop self-awareness and interpersonal skills.

This entry was posted in Corporate Culture, Everything DiSC Profiles and tagged , on by .

About Steve Giles

Co-owner/Co-founder of Intesi! Resources. Educated as an architect I transitioned to technology during my career in architecture. Intesi! Resources was founded in 2002 and my focus is everything Web/eCommerce related from the design and development of our site to all the marketing activities involved. I also provide significant support for our clients on all our products and how they are used to deliver assessment-driven learning solutions that develop self-awareness and interpersonal skills.

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