By Michael Flowers
Creating a strong organizational culture is one of the key levers leaders can use in their quest to develop high-performing teams. Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell, used to say, “Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier. While strategy provides a structure of formality and direction for the organization, it is the culture of the company that defines its values and beliefs and ultimately facilitates the achievement of its goals. The organizational culture creates a common base for each of its members and creates teamwork, synergy and esprit de corps. It’s very hard to define, and even harder to get it right. Many leaders believe that culture is first and foremost the most important factor in driving innovation and organizational performance.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CORPORATE CULTURE
Many leaders have created that perfect balance between developing a strong company culture and transparently executing strategy that leads to goal achievement. For example, a leader’s ability to be open and approachable, to treat people fairly, and to listen actively can facilitate the creation of a culture of engagement and high performance. “Managing by walking” and field walks are also examples of activities that can create a strong culture. Organizations that develop leaders at all levels of the company, establish an environment of trust, and where mutual respect is the norm are examples of a strong and productive corporate culture. They are places where teamwork and productivity come naturally.
DEVELOP A GREAT CULTURE
Leaders must take responsibility for understanding the organizational culture and implementing the changes needed to move things in the desired direction. Senior leaders will see the culture of the organization as a distinct differentiator, creating a “sustainable competitive advantage” to stay ahead of the competition. Many military leaders are adept at emphasizing culture, ensuring that it continues to evolve and strengthen the organization as a whole. The ambiguous nature of cultures can make this work a daunting and daunting task without buy-in from leadership and the entire team.
“Leaders must take responsibility for understanding the organizational culture and implementing the changes needed to move things in the desired direction.”
LEADING A CULTURE BY EXAMPLE
Take, for example, the sales organization that has developed a culture based on hitting sales targets regardless of approach, accepting nothing less than meeting and exceeding everyone’s sales figures. of its employees. Companies with this type of culture lose sight of the ability to differentiate right from wrong, developing an environment of hyper-aggressive sales activities that push employees to alienate customers and sometimes even distance themselves from legal limits on promotional activities. Leaders must take organizational direction to ensure that these scenarios are avoided. When developing a strong company culture, it is the leader’s responsibility to lead by example, inspire a shared vision, and challenge the status quo while continuing to focus on developing the culture. It is the leader who can model what “good looks like” that will keep the organization headed in the right direction.
CULTURE AND SUCCESS
Positive cultures can be developed through the use of a mission statement, core values, mission teamwork, and leadership principles. A positive and optimistic company culture will improve employee retention and provide the team with a definitive brand leading to synergies and high performance.
Michael Flowers is SVP Sales at Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy. He is a sales leader who also served 24 years in the active and reserve components of the United States Marine Corps, retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel.