Perhaps when people were a start up, a healthy company culture developed effortlessly.
But then the company started to take off and I realized I needed more bodies than I had friends. I needed different roles, talents and personalities and now I am wondering, what happened to the culture?
Or maybe my small firm just merged with another. I knew who I each was, but now I am both trying to figure out who I collectively am. Suddenly, unspoken rules and behaviors are in question – what is the right way to behave?
Or perhaps I’m a new leader at an established organization trying to make big changes. It seems impossible and everyone agrees on only one thing: the problem is the culture.
Organizational culture is commonly defined as the human behaviors within an organization and the underlying values that keep those behaviors in place. The first step in influencing my organization’s culture is to visualize the behaviors and values I want at the center of the organization. I refer to this artifact as a culture map. And it will:
o Clarify - Creating a picture forces me to show examples of what good looks like. It shows employees where they fit and what they can expect from others.
o Provide direction - People are faced with decisions that impact the culture everyday. My map acts like a giant signpost guiding people towards the behaviors that drive the culture.
o Create an employee filter - My map should serve as a filter for finding and keeping people that are the right fit and will thrive in the culture. Suddenly when I say, “I don’t think this person is a good culture fit,” it means something.
o Provide a common language - Coaching and mentoring conversations can be focused around the behaviors and values on my map and on a common understanding of what the terms mean.
o Inspire - My map should give people a sense of belonging, community and common purpose. Even if it starts out as aspirational, the map will let people know that the organization is moving in a positive direction.