How to Make Your Culture a Seamless Tapestry

How to Make Your Culture a Seamless Tapestry

By Janet Kendall White

I recently read an article on organization culture, and it said that a robust culture isn’t about perks, it’s about how people are treated. I agree with that perspective in part, but I also agree with another quote in the article that states that building a corporate culture requires immense patience and relentless dedication.

It starts and probably ends with how we treat each other but then there are the policies, procedures, and systems that get put in place as an organization grows. That is an opportunity for “how we treat each other” to be reflected in the tapestry of the organization. Also, what does it mean exactly, “how we treat each other”? That must be defined down to behavioral actions for leaders to live it together as an organization grows in numbers.

So often culture is seen as touchy-feely and separate from the business or the “real” goals and objectives. That could not be further from the truth. Study after study has shown that a good culture is a more productive culture. A more productive and engaged workforce and organization.

The discipline that it takes to create that culture starts with planning and then moves through ongoing development, implementation, and finally accountability.

A business and organization exist for a purpose. Once the purpose is defined or the “why” then we get to the “how”. That’s where the owner and leader(s) determine how they will go about achieving their purpose.

It is important for leaders to be hired and developed in a way that reflects the values and principles that we want in the culture. That takes discipline and an investment of both time and money. When the leaders are all in sync then they can develop, implement, and oversee systems and policies that reflect those very same values and principles.

I know that we can all think of organizations where we have seen values hanging on the wall and in a very short period of interaction with that company see that those values are not reflected in the culture. We have also seen emails, policies, and procedures that run counter-cultural to what is stated as important.

Start with your Purpose and Values and then look at your leadership behaviors, your employee handbook, your accounting policies, your IT policies, your accounting policies, and any others you may have. Are they reflective of your values? Do they really reflect the culture you want to exist throughout the organization regardless of how big or small it is?

I have had the privilege of working with and in a few organizations that strive for this seamless tapestry and it is an amazing experience. Are they perfect? Of course not, because it is an ongoing journey with every employee that is hired but when you are striving for it, people can feel it and they want to be a part of it.

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