Like fire, an untended culture grows cold, dark, ugly and useless.
When you look in the organizational mirror, do you like what you see? You can.
One regional medical facility's mission statement begins, “To extend God’s healing love.” It’s impossible to extend love to outsiders unless insiders are extending love to each other. I’d love to be part of an organization where the people aspire to love each other – wouldn’t you?
Culture is the product of the way people treat each other with organizational purpose in mind. Culture emerges from people, not furniture or fresh paint. An unused ping pong table in the break room reminds everyone that fun is not allowed.
Purpose fuels and guides culture. Behaviors express and create culture.
Culture-building behaviors are:
- Fully aligned with organizational purpose
- Clearly observable – if you can’t see it, it doesn’t matter
- Profoundly simple – if it’s complicated or difficult, it won’t get done
- Cheerfully honored by everyone
- Able to clarify organizational purpose, your "why," and build culture around it
Culture building brings your “why” inside your organization. An educational institution, in order to be consistent, must treat employees like students. When they want students to work hard and have fun but don’t have fun themselves, culture disconnects from purpose. Churches who extend grace to the world must extend grace to each other. Financial institutions who build trustworthy relationships with customers and distrust employees eventually grow cold. Social service organizations who put on smiles for clients and frowns for each other grow dark and useless.
Culture building is identifying language and behaviors that express your purpose and repeating them over and over within your organization.
How are hot organizational cultures built and maintained?