In its simplest form, culture at work is “the way we do things here.” Who is the we? The we is all the employees, which is why senior leaders hand-off culture to Human Resources to manage. Many leaders hear the word employees or people and immediately think, “We have a group who is responsible for that – HR.” Wrong.
The truth is that “the way we do things here” is not a grassroots initiative. It starts at the top. It starts with the people running the business and it trickles down for all see, experience, and emulate. Leaders, you set the tone for your company’s culture. The influence you have on the performance of people and, ultimately, your company cannot be understated. As a role model, you shape the way people think and behave. Employees mirror your behavior to ensure it’s consistent with the organization’s values and philosophy, and out of this your culture – the way we do things here – is formed.
We’ve all heard the adage that culture eats strategy for breakfast, and it’s true. You can have the best laid plans in the world, but if you have a bad culture, your employees will be disengaged and unable to execute on your strategy the way they need to in order for your company to succeed.
Leaders, you shape culture. People are watching you and following you. Is your behavior worthy of being mirrored, or is it creating a culture that is disengaging workers and hampering profitability? Hard questions worthy of deep thought…