Creating a Cultural Operating System

Your Business Coach; optimising the Organisational culture

While culture might seem more ambiguous in the realm of ROI, profit margins and KPIs, the fact is there are endless metrics that support the returns of a healthy company culture. By being clear and focused in your culture vision, you’ll attract people that will thrive at your company which translates to high productivity levels, low turnover, solid client retention and overall good health & wellness.

There are three consistent qualities that appear in healthy cultures: vision, authenticity, and consistency.

Just as you have a vision for your products or services, there is a need to have a vision for your people.  With a review of your business goals for the coming quarters or years, it’s critical to think about what people/talent goals you should set to make sure you reach them.

Authenticity means enabling your employees to be their truest selves, and in turn seeing your business benefit from that diversity of perspectives. Trying to be all things for all people can dilute your culture into something that holds no meaning for anyone. And by having an imbalance of skills and perspectives in one category, your capabilities for growth and scale are limited.

Consistency is another attribute of a healthy company culture. Your leadership, and every action you take, and the people, tools and processes you put in place, should align with the values you define for your company. If you don’t act and deliver in alignment with your values at all times, culture becomes the PR soundbite or ‘copy for the website’ type thing that employees will see as something you say, but not something they do.

Creating a cultural operating system

Every culture is unique. What’s not unique is that a framework is essential.

An operating system (OS) framework creates your employment brand—your value proposition to existing and prospective employees.

The purpose of an OS, is to outline the key elements of the culture: what you hire for, values, processes & tools to support consistency and leadership principles. These should be designed, measured and iterated through a feedback loop.

What you hire for is the baseline for all new employees—and a guidepost for when to let someone go. Every employee should share these qualities and vision. Be authentic and transparent and honest about what it takes to be successful at your company, and it will save everyone a significant amount of time, money and disappointments.

Consider a Cultural Audit

Why not assess the opportunity for change and improvements?

Whether you’re an early stage startup just thinking about building your culture, or an exec/leadership team member in a large organisation and seeking to make improvements, a cultural audit can capture the good stuff that is already happening inside your business, and identify what is needed to further underpin the company’s principles and values.

A cultural audit first begins with a look inward with a self assessment across the leadership team members, either as an individual or activities as a closed group.

It begins with talking to people, meeting with leadership, and identifying the things that already exist. Then from there, together we can create a plan and begin to try small experiments to make progress toward your vision.

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