Build strong culture or die?
We cannot see someone’s soul nor feel a spirit, whether by observing a body or through an X-ray. We sense it while interacting with people. Likewise, the same happens within organizations. We cannot see it, but we can feel the spirit of the organization. A positive organizational culture motivates employees to achieve excellence, while enriching productive partnerships and customer relations, thus making the organization excel beyond its rivals. As culture and its influence span beyond the organizational boundaries, not only do the organization’s members feel it, but all of the organization’s stakeholders are able to sense it and are affected by it.
Sustainable development depends on an organization’s ability to attract and retain the best people. However, unless the spirit or culture motivates people to stay and perform to the best of their abilities, an organization’s development will be stunted. People are the main ingredient of all processes, and without good people and their qualities and effort, even the best thought-through processes will not be effective.
Different organizations have very contrasting cultures just as humans have very different personalities. As such, an organization’s strength, performance, limits, and potential for development will all vary. One develops capacities for fighting and prosperity, where another is equipped only to follow a flow rather than to lead, picking up bad habits along the way. We’ve all more than likely heard about situations where someone big and physically strong has been outfought by someone of smaller size and weight. It all comes down to a strong character and the motivation to win. The same happens with organizations. A strong culture can help a small organization triumph where larger groups falter. For instance, Starbucks has grown from being a small company with a handful of coffee shops to dominate with thousands of franchises across the globe by using a strategy built on a strong team culture.
Today’s competitive climate requires superiority in relationship skills in order to secure a smooth and efficient supply of critical resources. Companies seek out partners that are compatible in order to form a reliable and mutually productive relationship. We gain from productive relations dealing with partners within a positive culture. By contrast, dealing with an organization that has a negative culture is like hitting the proverbial brick wall. Strong, positive organizational culture facilitates well-developed relationship skills and integrity, whereas negative culture in partnerships not only affects mutual understanding, but also is problematic in terms of mutual support, leading to any number of difficulties.
As an organization’s focal resource and the most important external stakeholders, customers are quite adept at being able to sense an organization’s culture. As a result, their dealings with an organization directly affect their loyalty. Customers are direct consumers of an organization’s culture, being affected by everything an organization does to retain them. It is widely understood that all organizations want customers to be focused on their own products and not on those of the competitor, increasing our market share and securing organic growth.
When an organization’s culture is negative or demotivating in nature, it will not stimulate the generation of the driving energy that pushes the organization to continually grow and improve. Rather, it works as a destructive power which serves to limit organizational productivity and makes resource utilization processes excessively costly. Creativity, enthusiasm, cooperation, and mutual support are replaced by excessive control and inefficient internal coordination.