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Reinforce the company culture

Reinforce the company culture

Companies with a strong culture perform better over time than their competitors. But what is meant by company culture? And how can you turn it into an asset to mobilize your teams?

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In his book, The Culture Cycle, James Heskett estimates that companies that have developed a strong culture demonstrate performance 20 to 30% higher than the others. This is intuitively easy to conceive. Many organizations consequently engage notable efforts to disseminate and reinforce a shared culture—whether through defining company values, creating behavioral benchmarks, designing development programs to rally people around shared practices, or undertaking change projects to disseminate new habits.

The concept of company culture remains nonetheless abstract, and often confusing. The initiatives put in place are often experienced by those concerned as time-consuming obligations, which disrupt already cumbersome operational priorities—when they aren’t met with skepticism. That’s why many projects designed to reinforce the company culture eventually run out of steam, as the expected results are not judged to be worth the effort needed to keep the ball rolling.

For a culture to be accepted, it must be simultaneously clear, consistent and distinctive. Everyone must know what is expected of him or her, what is permitted or encouraged in the organization, or conversely disapproved. Far from an all-too-common list of contradictory injunctions, the culture must provide a framework to solve inevitable day-to-day dilemmas. How, for example, can you juggle the right to make mistakes and the demand for quality? Every company has its own equilibrium, tricks, priorities, and taboos to reconcile these two objectives as much as possible. It’s this particular equilibrium that makes a culture distinctive.

It’s difficult to find this equilibrium without sinking into either banality—by promoting universal values and behaviors that are more common-sense basics than features of a distinct personality—or utopia—with rallying principles atypical to the point that they seem to arise from hare-brained ideas far removed from realities on the ground. How can you formulate a distinctive and motivating company culture behind which people will want to rally?


In this synopsis:
- Decipher the company culture
- Rely on the company culture to mobilize people
- Change the company culture

Synopsis n.263b


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