Organisational culture is more than a charter on the wall of the boardroom.

Organisational culture is more than a charter on the wall of the boardroom. Do you know your organisational culture? Is managing the organisational culture part of your daily policy?




What is organisational culture?

Some of the definitions we find on the internet are:

  • Culture is how organisations do things.
  • Culture is the only sustainable point of difference for any organisation.
  • Culture is the values and behaviours that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of an organisation.
  • Culture is the sum of values and rituals which serve as glue to integrate the members of the organisation.
  • Culture is a system of shared assumptions, values and beliefs which governs how people behave in organisations.

All these guru definitions and statements are known, but do we consciously manage our corporate culture? Actually, are we even aware of our (current) corporate culture and do we know which culture we are looking for or want to achieve?


Why define and manage your organisational culture?

If the corporate culture is not correctly defined and managed, the strategic objectives will not be adequately achieved. ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast.’ (Peter Drucker). Not managing the corporate culture leads to inefficiency or sub-performance. If your strategy includes innovation or other performance objectives, you will only achieve these objectives efficiently if all elements of your operational management or organisational culture live and breathe innovation or performance. We refer to this as the DNA of your company and will discuss this further later.


So how can we manage our organisational culture?

Organisational culture is the correct translation in the daily operational management of the mission, vision and strategic objectives. Let those three elements be the hardware of your strategy and the culture the software of your business strategy. Organisational culture translates the strategy.


Culture must be defined consistently and coherently.

The triangle of strategy, structure and culture must be equal. This is nothing more than Six Sigma.

The following elements of your operational management are examples of what should/can be translated in your culture:

  • The organisational structure should obviously be adjusted: a hierarchical temple will not be adjusted to achieve an innovation objective, but a network organisation will…
  • Values of course…
  • Leadership style, but also conflict resolution: are conflicts glossed over or really resolved?
  • Communication: written or oral, top-down or bottom-up?
  • Use of time: management by walking around or a more systematic management style with more time spent on meetings?
  • Compensation criteria: are new ideas rewarded or is higher pay related to age or seniority?
  • This also includes recruitment criteria or promotion criteria.

This list is certainly not exhaustive, but a small sample of what culture is based on. It is evident that the coherence of all these operational management measures or elements will be rewarding and may facilitate the strategy.


Culture and climate

Culture is what we want and climate is how we put it into practice. The more consistent the culture and climate become, the more efficient our strategy will be achieved.


Culture is not an abstract concept

This means that organisational culture is not an abstract concept or a charter on a wall. It is the driving force of your strategy. Did you know that managing your business culture increases your EBIT by 2 to 3 percentage points? ‘The only thing top management really has to do is to create culture’ (Edgar Schein). In just a few days we measure your current culture and your desired culture and we put your management team and staff on the right track.