5 Ways To Improve Your Organizational Culture

Whether you’re a business owner or another type of leader, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the importance of a positive organizational culture and the need for continuous improvement.  You may have observed these aspirations flowing down to how people actually work and behave in your organization—or maybe not.  What are some ways to effect meaningful change that’ll improve morale and your bottom line?  Here are several ideas to consider.

1. Work With What You’ve Got

At the outset, you must be aware of the deeply embedded aspects of your current culture.  It is impossible to clear it out and start over from scratch.  Study both assets and liabilities that currently exist; talk to all of your stakeholders; and listen carefully.  Once you have a clear picture of who and what you’re working with, you can use favorable features to your advantage—and minimize those unfavorable features.

2. Focus on Key Behaviors

“Mindset” is a buzzword these days, but it’s more effective to focus on specific behaviors.  Moving towards the desired mindset follows when constructive behaviors are well-established.  The glossiest mission statements will not do any good if the behaviors in your business do not reflect them.

3. Prioritize Behaviors

In the process of identifying key behaviors you may want to promote, it’s important to prioritize them.  Obviously, some behaviors are more important than others.  As you categorize and prioritize, involve all leaders and workers in the process, outlining specific observable steps for carrying out each behavior.

4. Link Behaviors to Objectives

To avoid vague abstractions, align behaviors with business objectives.  Be ready to give well-defined, concrete examples of how the specified changes lead to improved financial outcomes and better performance.  Be sure the path to achieving objectives is measurable over time.

5. Leverage All Types of Leadership

Within your enterprise, you have formal and informal leaders.  Keep formal leaders accountable.  Every leader is responsible for demonstrating and safeguarding specific behaviors; it’s not just the job of human resources professionals.  Informal leaders provide influence in a variety of ways, whether it’s networking, early adoption, building pride, or being excellent role models.  Empower them. 
Improving your organizational culture requires a willingness to look at your current situation, a listening ear, and a behavioral focus.  Keep these suggestions in mind as you create and implement change. 

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