…fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower”
What bloomed in your business this year? What didn’t? This is the time of year when many leaders are taking stock of their business to celebrate successes of the past business cycle. Possibly salary increases and bonuses for the deserving are part of the discussion along with stronger relationships for the upcoming year. It is also the time of year to understand the misses from what was planned twelve months prior. Reflecting on what assumptions changed or did not play out as planned and what was misinterpreted leading to less than desired results.
As we go through these conversations and reflections, it might be easy to identify individuals and teams who contributed to both the successes and the misses. While rewarding the high contributing teams for their great work is a must, stopping there misses the bigger issue identified in the title with Alexander Den Heijer’s quote in the title. How much time is spent understanding how the environment impacted the overall results? We intellectually know the importance of culture and yet give it short shrift when conducting the year-in-review. As a reminder, we define organizational culture as the cumulative values, beliefs, attitudes, norms and assumptions that guide the behavior of its members. With that in mind, let’s explore how organizational culture will impact the sustainable success of your business in the coming year by looking through an internal and external lens.
How does your culture support internal unity? Every organization has a culture, the question is whether it is the right culture. Culture is, in effect, a social control mechanism for the members of the organization. Because it includes things like unwritten rules and a form of peer pressure, it has a very real impact on how the organization performs as a whole. In many respects, an effective strong culture needs fewer formal rules because everyone on the team and throughout the organization knows what to do, how to do it the right way and hold themselves accountable to getting it done!
How does your culture support external adaptability of the organization? Every organization I’ve led in my corporate leadership experience was consciously set up for success by a culture of adaptability. A line made famous in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off goes, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss out.” An adaptable culture allows the organization to respond quickly to changing client needs and competitive challenges among other things that are ever present in today’s dynamic business environment. With change you are either driving change or you are a victim of change. I have not talked to any business leader consciously looking to do the latter!
In a previous post, we wrote about how an organization’s culture is shaped by the worst behavior the leaders are willing to tolerate. As you lead your organization into a new business cycle and/or fiscal year, be it a for-profit, non-profit, large corporate business unit or small niche business, how you build internal unity and external adaptability into your culture will determine what kind of conversation we will have a year from now!
How are you changing your environment so your business blooms?