If you’re on your company’s leadership team, you know first-hand that the pandemic has shown how a sustained crisis adds urgency and weight to just about every decision you make. These tough economic times bring into focus flaws and gaps that were tolerable and even unnoticed in “easier” times – but not any longer.
Whether you know it or not, your company’s culture has taken center stage as a concern because the workplace has changed in huge and likely permanent ways which threaten to disrupt the “largely taken-for-granted beliefs and practices that underpin how people work together,” Jennifer Howard-Grenville points out in MIT Sloan Management Review.
For a company in growth or strategic-pivot mode, any disruption to its culture poses a challenge to its future – or an exciting opportunity to accelerate its growth path with clarified values and improved practices.
“Culture eats valuations for lunch”
You know the expression “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” What it should be is “Culture eats valuation for lunch.”
What do both expressions really mean? They mean that it’s people – your growing team – that get things done. And their commitment, passion, and energy tie directly to their, and your company’s, productivity.
As much as your focus is on growing the top line, companies in growth mode – and especially during a strategic pivot – need to keep an equal focus on margins and cash flow. Your focus on productivity drives higher EBITDA and thus higher valuations. That’s why culture is key.
Culture is behavior, and behavior is reflected in: what gets recognized, how things get decided, what gets resourced, where lines are drawn in the sand, what gets frowned upon, and what gets rewarded.
For a healthy organization, the goal is to be sure your critical strategic values are made “real” by supporting behaviors.
What constitutes supporting behaviors? Here are some examples:
Tips to reinforce your value-building culture
Andrew Green shares perspectives and hard-won lessons on mastering the business growth path