When Herb Kelleher, former CEO of Southwest Airlines, was asked about the unique Southwest culture, he simply replied, “Culture is what people do when no one is looking.” Most often, I find a disparity between the formal policies and operating procedures of an organization and “how things are really done around here.” There is no mystery to corporate culture. Take a look around your organization and you will see it in the way people interact every day. Culture is reflected by the behaviors of people, whether intentional or not. If you have not recently looked at your corporate culture, you may be surprised. Here are some things to think about.
Are you consciously creating a corporate culture? A culture exists in your organization, is it the one you want? I challenge leaders to examine your corporate culture and to create a culture with intention.
What is your corporate culture? Spend some time observing people in your organization. Listen and watch how employees interact with each other and customers. What consistencies to you see in the behavior of the people in your organization? Which of these behaviors are desired and undesired in your culture?
How are things really done around here? Do formal the operating practices in your organization actually reflect the informal practices – “the way things are really done around here?” Find the disparities and determine which of the practices are desirable or undesirable in your culture.
Are you hiring people who fit your culture? Are you making hiring decisions based on how people fit your corporate culture? If not, consider adopting a plan to incorporate “culture fit” into your hiring criteria.
Do leaders reflect your culture? Do the leaders in your organization consistently reflect the desired culture? How do you identify, select, and develop leaders who exemplify the desired culture?
Let us know what you are doing to create your corporate culture!