“Culture Eats Strategy For Lunch”

Culture Eats StrategyIf there’s one thing I’ve learned about creating a world-class culture, it’s that you don’t have to be a big company with a ton of capital to do it. Let’s face it, culture is going to happen. Whether you do something about it or not is up to you.

My advice, do something about it. Deloitte’s 2012 “Culture in the Workplace” study shows:

  • 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success.
  • 83% of executives and 84% of employees rank having engaged and motivated employees as the top factor that substantially contributes to a company’s success.
  • There is a correlation between employees who say their organization has a clearly articulated and lived culture and those that say they are “happy at work” and feel “valued by [their] company.”

While this is some great data around the impact of having a clearly defined culture, here is where the eye-opening part comes in. That same study goes onto show that

  • Only 19% of executives and 15% of employees believe strongly that their culture is widely upheld within their own organizations

How can this be? There is clearly a disconnect -Nearly everyone understands the importance of a distinct workplace culture, yet only 15% of employees claim to be a part of one! The need to do something about your culture is real and apparent. So, where do you start?

Arguably the most important thing we, as leaders in a company, can do when it comes to creating our company culture is to be explicit and lead by example. It’s up to us to set the tone. By being explicit and clearly defining the kind of culture we want to have, we begin to take the reins and put a stop to just letting our culture happen. It all starts with a simple question: “Why?” Clearly defining your purpose is the first step in building a great company culture. A purpose, paired with a set of present-tense, action oriented values lays the foundation for an explicit culture – One that team members and leadership will buy into. If you are struggling to develop your purpose, this process might help you.

Again, being explicit about culture opens up a whole new world for organizations, one filled with high performance, low turnover, and a company full of people who feel as though they are a part of something bigger than themselves. And in today’s world, where a solid paycheck isn’t enough to keep the best talent on your team, culture can definitely be your competitive advantage.



This blog post was written by Nick Sarillo.

Nick is the Chief Culture Curator of Oh! Social.  With his experience at Nick’s Pizza & Pub and degree in Organizational Management from DePaul University, his expertise is leading the charge of creating the company culture of Oh! Social.

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