How to Create Amazing Culture

Culture is the tacit social order of an organisation: It shapes attitudes and behaviours in wide-ranging and durable ways. Cultural norms define what is encouraged, discouraged, accepted, or rejected within a group. When properly aligned with personal values, drives, and needs, culture can unleash tremendous amounts of energy toward a shared purpose and foster an organisation’s capacity to thrive.” HBR 2018
 
One of the most misunderstood words in business is the word culture.

It doesn’t stand alone as a subject and ends up as the responsibility for the junior culture council to fix. Culture is NOT Fun Friday’s and after work drinks, nor is it a demon word used by people in HR to ‘annoy the business’. So what is it?
 
Leaders are often confounded by culture, sub cultures and their impact. Intentions are set then mysteriously the results are less than perfect.
 
For better or for worse culture and leadership are inextricably linked. The following four statements are ALL true*

  1. Culture is both the cause of leaderships styles and the outcome of leadership styles
  2. Leadership is both the contributor and outcome of culture.
  3. Culture impacts performance
  4. Leadership is a critical lever to change culture

* Human Synergistics 2020

This is why leaders become confused about the interdependencies of leadership, culture, performance and change.  In this week’s episode of Fast Track, Laura Aldington, CEO of Host Havas, spoke to me candidly about how Host Havas, the fifth largest marketing communications company in the world, with 20,000 employees in 100 countries, have created an amazing culture without the BS. Their secret? To make culture simple to understand, the responsibility of everyone, accountable to the leader and clearly understood by everyone.