Is Your Culture Aligned with the Mission of Your Organization?
Let’s say your culture is clearly defined and most of your employees embrace it. What’s next? Make sure your culture is aligned with the good of your organization. Your organization has a purpose. Does your culture help further the purpose, does it sabotage it, or is it a mixed bag?
When identifying and assessing your rules and traditions, make sure they all work together and don’t undercut each other. Suppose as a company you encourage employees to be innovative, but you also don’t put up with mistakes. What would happen? You’d likely stifle innovation. Employees would avoid sharing new ideas, since they’d be worried they might make a mistake.
Also take a good look at the cultures of each department and each team. These smaller groups will have their own ways of interacting and doing things, and that’s okay, but their micro-cultures shouldn’t fundamentally conflict with the larger organizational culture.
If your overall culture isn’t aligned with your mission, or if the cultures of some departments don’t match the cultures of others, this can create conflict and disorder. If people aren’t united behind your company’s purpose, they likely aren’t all following your rules or traditions, either. And that can create resentment and frustration, hurt morale, and stifle productivity.
Is Your Culture Conducive to Long-Term Success?
Among the most important questions to ask when evaluating your culture is whether it’s conducive to the organization’s success. Your core values and practices might all be in alignment, but what if the values themselves, or the mission or vision, aren’t good for long-term sustainability? There’s a possibility that the core values you defined aren’t really the best ones for you to have. Maybe your current mission and vision won’t take you as far as others could.
One way to answer whether your culture will lead to success is to analyze your recent successes and failures, asking why each happened. For this analysis, you would examine the underlying reasons why people acted the way they did. If, for example, a project failed because there was a breakdown of communication, you’d assess whether the existing policies and procedures for communication played any kind of role. Maybe the rules for how people communicate weren’t clear to everyone. Or perhaps people weren’t sharing information because they didn’t trust one another, in which case you’d want to discover why they didn’t trust one another. If your rules or traditions are causing problems, they may need to be revised or abandoned. On the other hand, if they’re contributing to your successes, look for ways to strengthen them.