It seems that corporate culture is often nothing more than platitudes and lofty sounding mission statements that are not reflected in the company itself. Consider research conducted by United Minds and KRC showed that just 28% of company team members thought there was alignment between their companies’ actions and their stated values! And one does not have to look too far to understand why the percentage is so low. Additional studies also showed that fewer than 1/3 of senior executives and business leaders truly grasp their corporate culture. To their credit, they do understand that corporate culture is an important element of success. But they seem to struggle fathoming the actual culture itself. And to this latter point, in fact, in 2019, the number one reason CEO’s were removed from their positions was not due to performance – they were removed due to ethical lapses.
With regard to hiring, fully 46% of candidates consider culture to be the most important yardstick in their decision-making. And the vast majority (about 75%) of millennials consider culture to be the number one factor in their decision to join an organization. So corporate culture clearly matters – for many reasons!
So how does one “firm up” their corporate culture? Consider the questions put forth by Bill Taylor, co-founder of Fast Company magazine. They are, in no particular order: Is your corporate culture sustainable when the company stumbles? Is the culture built for learning as well as achievement? Can you capture what it means to be part of your organization? Is your corporate culture real, genuine and memorable? Is the people culture built on a business strategy?
With regard to “memorable,” the culture statement adopted by Texas A&M University is: “From the outside looking in, you cannot understand it. From the inside looking out you can’t explain it.”