Dynamic and super successful organizations such as Apple, Google and Virgin Airlines are showing us that making a unique organizational culture the focal point of all business endeavors pays off and offers many bonuses along the way.
Outstanding brand recognition, magnetic talent attraction, agile growth – those pay-offs provide sufficient evidence that organizational culture drives organizational effectiveness and excellence.
And so it seems that the current business landscape is divided into “haves” and “have nots” reaching for what everyone wants: a magnetic and dynamic corporate culture. While the “haves” are thriving, the “have nots” are inevitably calling for what seems most promising: an organizational culture change.
Organizational Culture and Change
The issue with an organizational culture change is, however, that your culture is tightly linked to your unique identity and ways of operating. Your organizational culture and your unique design have mutually influenced each other over years. Therefore, they cannot be cut lose and reconnected in different ways that easily.
The 1-Step-Up Principle
As the result of continuous development, you organizational culture can often only move one step ahead at a time. For example if your organization is designed in a relatively hierarchical way – which many organizations are – you will have a hard time creating a fully collaborative mind-set even if you flatten your structures overnight. Or if you have been a local player for decades, it will be difficult to create a global corporate mindset, even though it might be advantageous for your future growth strategy.
If you try to change into something drastically different from what you have grown to be over time, you risk losing your most valuable asset: your authenticity and unique identity.
The competitive advantage: Understanding and highlighting the unique strengths of your culture
What companies with a vibrant corporate culture may understand much better than other companies is the uniqueness of who they are. Their outstanding achievement might not be as much about the specifics of their organizational culture as their ability to acknowledge their authentic organizational identity and make it shine throughout all organizational levels.
Therefore, creating a competitive advantage through your organizational culture means understanding it precisely and making its strengths the driving factor in all processes and units.
Value-adding organizational culture assessment
Sometimes all it takes is an honest look to see who you are and seeing the benefits in that. By stressing and adding value to your unique way of operating, you might easily evoke the change that you are seeking.