Tthe military culture is seen reasonably by the rest of society. We can see the level of physical fitness required by the members; The esprit de corps and the fixed rules for everything from making a bed to what to wear and how to compliment others, etc. It is no wonder that less than one percent of the population applies for enlistment in the militaries of most nations and less than that actually enlists. The reason is mainly that only those individuals who are attracted to the strictness, strictness and regime can withstand what they want and be happy about it. The military culture is not only expected of its members, it is literally enforced. As difficult as it may seem, the execution is needed to increase the chances of success given the circumstances the military typically expects its personnel to find themselves in.
Maybe you’re just running your business and don’t need an army regiment. You may not even have the rights, beyond certain contract terms, to what might be needed to implement a desirable, even legitimate, culture. But you have the choice to attract only the people who meet your needs and who can volunteer to help you establish the culture. This organizational culture is critical to the success of your business and is our topic today.
What is organizational culture? Organizational culture refers to the spectrum of shared philosophies, values, attitudes, habits and practices that define and, perhaps, differentiate one organization from another. Organizational culture gives character and personality to your business as well as the intersecting field in which your employees will have to work to deliver the desired performance. Organizational culture sets out the basic beliefs and assumptions that guide organizational members internally and in dealing with outsiders. It is a combination of socio-psychological and physical factors that create an enviable environment that ‘moves’ your operations to achieve your goals.
Think of organizations in terms of the following aspects:
Philosophies, beliefs and role models – These are at the heart of what is important to the organization and the members who join it. Often, individuals are attracted to organizations that have their own culture. Other times, the individuals help shape the culture of the organization. Equally, each other’s culture affects both the individual and the organisation. Regardless, the most important thing is that the impact is well thought out, planned, sensible and aimed at supporting the achievement of corporate goals.
Internal social interactions – This refers to how the members of the organization interact with each other. How do they greet each other? How supportive are they of each other? What are their skill levels? How involved are they in each other’s official and private affairs?
Business practices – This refers to how individuals and the organization conduct their business practices not only with their colleagues at work, mentioned above, but with their customers, suppliers, service providers, etc. What is its operating structure? How responsive are they to customer requests? How compliant are they with regulations governing their business?
External social practices – Beyond the internal interactions and their business practices, how do individual members and the organization handle issues of corporate social responsibility? Are they active with certain charities? This relates to what the individuals and the business may do outside of what is legally binding on them.
The benefits of building a desired organizational culture: Aside from your company’s value proposition, perhaps the next most important determinant of long-term success is your organizational culture. From attracting, hiring and retaining the right candidates, to staff punctuality, meeting details, keeping their word and responding to questions and customer service requests, the culture of the organization affects every aspect of your business.
A great organizational culture creates and fosters core attributes that are necessary for business success. Research suggests that companies with healthy cultures are 1.5 times more likely to achieve revenue growth of fifteen percent or more over three years. Such companies are also 2.5 times more likely to experience significant growth in their stock over the same period.
When the organization’s culture aligns with employees, staff are more likely to be productive voluntarily because they feel secure, empowered and valued. Trust, teamwork, camaraderie and integrity are known to run deep and wide throughout organizations that build effective cultures. Similarly, success in innovation is a result of the trust and psychological safety that members enjoy with others within the organization. Companies that thoughtfully build desirable cultures know that they face difficult times as their people renew their commitments, resolve and make necessary sacrifices.
The most successful companies in the world are identified with certain cultures. Nordstrom and Ritz Carlton, for example, are known for great customer service. They literally go out of their way to be of service to their guests and customers, making them feel truly welcome and valued. Other companies, such as Infosys, Salesforce and Amazon, are known for their focus on innovation. They invest heavily in research and development, making them industry and world leaders in what they do. Regardless of the cultural preference and focus of any organization, it takes thought, reflection and perseverance to benefit by providing a sense of identity, mission and direction in whatever they do.
Today, we introduced what organizational culture is, its features and the benefits it brings to your organization. Next week, we’ll be tackling cultural dimensions and how to build a great culture for your organisation.