Susan Lucas-Conwell -
September 2, 2012
The Foundations of a Great Company Culture
What goes into creating a company culture? And why has it become the new buzz word?
In her recent article, Time for a New Leader in the C-Suite?, Meghan Biro of Forbes presents a number of compelling reasons for why companies should add a Chief of Culture Officer to their C-Suite. It’s easy to see why culture is so important, with companies such as Google and Whole Foods consistently demonstrating that putting people first helps them achieve record-breaking results. Great cultures aren’t, however, just about adding an executive.
Leading with a Committed Vision Having a vision for the culture is an essential first step. Making that vision a reality starts with clearly defined goals, a keen understanding of group dynamics and shared set of values. Chris Van Gorder, CEO and President of Scripps Health knew that he would not be able to change the company culture all on his own. When he embarked on the turnaround of Scripps, he recruited a few key players to join him in his mission. Without Van Gorder’s personal commitment and clear guidelines, Scripps Health would have never developed the award-winning culture that it enjoys today. Culture vs. Talent 'Résumés aren’t everything' says Biro, and she’s right. A company’s culture lies in the intricate workings of its teams; innovative ideas are rarely the product of a lone wolf, but rather the collective effort of varied perspectives working together. Understanding the person behind the resume is critical – their hobbies, dreams and aspirations.
Aligning the Teamwork Dominos Give employees the time and space necessary to develop symbiotic relationships with each other. If you want to foster a culture that aligns with your vision, make teamwork one of your core values and then lead by example. Ask your employees for their input, reward them for their contributions and encourage others to do the same. Same as building the business, great cultures are an iterative process with continuous improvement.
The Value of Meritocracy Once you have assembled your Dream Team, don’t forget to reward them for their efforts. Meritocracy not only creates the right incentives, but also has the added benefit of creating a fair and transparent measurement and rewards systems.
Susan Lucas-Conwell is Chief Executive Officer and Board Member at Great Place to Work®. An accomplished business leader, Susan provides keen perspective on how building and maintaining great workplace culture drives business success.