Culture & Strategy: The Power Of Ways Of Working

Did you know that organizational culture is essential to productivity and success in today’s fast-paced business world? In fact, a study found that companies with a strong culture outperformed those without by 4x in terms of revenue growth and were 3x more likely to be successful in retaining top talent.

But what exactly is organizational culture and how do you shape it?

In the article ‘Culture & Strategy: The Power of Ways of Working’, Benjamin Wann explores the role of culture in driving strategic success and introduces the concept of Ways of Working, a sort of warrior’s code for professionals. Drawing on examples from Japanese Bushido code and the Haitian slave revolt, the article highlights the importance of high standards and honoring commitments in shaping organizational culture.

This thought-provoking piece offers valuable insights into how organizations can take ownership of their culture and align it with their strategic goals for success. As someone who has a subconscious desire for serving others, you’ll find this article insightful, analytical, and strategic, providing you with actionable steps to shape your organization’s culture and drive success.

Key Takeaways

  • Organizational culture is shaped by accepted behaviors and interactions over time, and is essential to productivity.
  • Culture and strategy are intertwined, and taking ownership of culture is critical to shaping the environment and expectations.
  • Ways of Working is a sort of warrior’s code for professionals, and can be customized for each organization to help align culture and strategy.
  • High standards and honoring commitments are crucial to driving cultural change and achieving success.

What is Organizational Culture?

You may be surprised to learn that there’s little consensus on what organizational culture actually is. Some define it as the shared values, beliefs, and practices that govern how people behave in an organization. Others see it as the underlying assumptions and behaviors that are so deeply ingrained that they’re taken for granted.

However you define it, one thing is clear: culture isn’t static but has an evolving nature.

Culture changes over time as people come and go, as the organization grows and evolves, and as the external environment changes. It’s shaped by leadership, by the organization’s history and traditions, by the industry and market it operates in, and by the broader social and cultural context.

Understanding and managing culture is therefore a critical challenge for leaders, who must create an environment that supports the organization’s strategy and goals while also fostering a sense of belonging and shared purpose among employees.

Bushido and Ways of Working

Explore the connection between the ancient Japanese Bushido code and the principles of professional conduct outlined in Ways of Working.

The Bushido code, a Japanese philosophy that established norms for a samurai’s life, emphasized the importance of honor, loyalty, and discipline. The code’s principles align with the values of Ways of Working, which emphasizes high standards, accountability, and honoring commitments.

Just as the samurai strove to live according to the Bushido code, professionals can strive to embody the principles of Ways of Working in their work.

Interestingly, the Haitian slave revolt of 1791 succeeded in part because of the Ways of Working employed by the slaves. They developed a system of communication and organization that allowed them to coordinate their efforts and overthrow their oppressors.

This example highlights the power of Ways of Working to drive cultural change and achieve strategic goals. By embracing the principles of Ways of Working, organizations can align their culture and strategy, leading to increased productivity and success.

Aligning Culture and Strategy

By aligning your team’s goals and values with a clear vision for the future, you can create a cohesive and focused organization that consistently achieves success. This is why it’s critical to align culture and strategy.

Ways of Working provides a framework that can help you achieve this alignment. It’s a set of principles that establish norms for how people should interact with each other and how work should be done. When implemented correctly, it can drive cultural change and align the team’s behaviors with the organization’s strategic goals.

The benefits of aligning culture and strategy are numerous. When the two are intertwined, there is a clear understanding of why certain behaviors are expected and how they contribute to the overall success of the organization. There is also increased motivation and engagement, as team members feel a sense of purpose and ownership in their work.

However, implementing Ways of Working can be challenging. It requires buy-in from all team members and a willingness to change established behaviors. It also takes time and effort to establish the norms and ensure they are consistently followed. But the payoff is worth it, as it can create a culture that is productive, innovative, and aligned with the organization’s goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can an organization measure the effectiveness of its culture?

To measure the effectiveness of your organization’s culture, look at employee engagement and retention metrics. High engagement and low turnover suggest a positive culture. But remember, culture is dynamic and needs ongoing attention to maintain and improve.

Can Ways of Working be applied to all industries or is it specific to certain fields?

Just like a Swiss Army knife, Ways of Working can adapt to any industry. Cross industry applicability is possible, but Industry specific adaptations are also necessary for maximum effectiveness.

Are there any potential drawbacks to prioritizing culture over strategy?

When balancing priorities, prioritizing culture over strategy can have potential drawbacks on success. While culture is important, it should not overshadow strategic goals. Finding a balance between the two is key.

How can an organization ensure that its culture remains inclusive and diverse?

Coincidentally, ensuring an inclusive and diverse culture involves more than a mere recruitment effort. Employee engagement is key. Encourage diverse perspectives and create a safe space for honest conversations.

What role do leaders play in shaping and maintaining the culture of an organization?

As a leader, you hold significant influence in shaping and maintaining your organization’s culture. By prioritizing employee engagement and modeling behaviors that align with your values and mission, you can create a culture that drives success and fosters a sense of purpose among your team.

Susan Whitlock
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