Seven Building Blocks of a Culture of Excellence in Your Organization

Building culture in an organisation is like growing a tree. It will take time to send its roots deep. But once it takes hold it is firm.

It is an organisation’s unique approach to work that helps shape its culture.

Here are certain elements that build culture in any organisation; which we have applied with remarkable success.

A positive and vibrant culture happens only with discipline. This discipline is not imposed by rules and regulations, do’s and don’ts. Instead it is delivered by people who have a passion about their work and a commitment to see their work contribute to the greatness of the brand for which they work for. This discipline is self-imposed and not enforced by force and supervision. Each member of the team knows what is expected of them and walks in purposefully and walks out with heads held high.

Culture does not work upwards from the rank and file of an Organisation. Instead it is largely determined by the leadership. It begins with a leader’s vision and values. It gathers momentum by the enthusiasm shown by the leader in creating an ambience within the organisation that is in tune with his stated purpose of the organisation’s long-term goals, strategies, career paths for employees and of course people policies. When members of the team align themselves to this there is rapid growth and progress.

Pride and Meaning
To have a great culture, people in an Orgnaisation need to feel meaning in their work. Most of them do not care about the big picture. But they do need to be assured that their role and the work they do makes a significant contribution to the Organisation. Only then will they have pride in the Organisation they work for. The bottom line is culture does not depend entirely on the money one earns; but it depends more on knowing that one’s work is valued.

Freedom, Autonomy, and Responsibility
We all love freedom. And what most people hate is working for bosses who are generally not positively spoken of. An organisation which can give freedom to its employees to work can create a culture which is totally different from an organisation which functions under autocratic hierachical structures. Freedom does not mean that employees work randomly and totally at their will and pleasure. No. There are expected deliverables. When working in self-managed teams, leadership roles change within teams as and when required. The sense of ownership and the way members of team take up responsibility is immense.

How do you feel when the Organisation keeps you knowledgable about its progress? How do you feel when they call you for a all-hands meet and share with you the joy of having accomplished one of your big goals? How do you feel when they inform you truthfully about reversals of fortunes and honestly tell you about some cost-cutting measures that has to be taken? The impact of communication which is clear, direct and purposeful is enormous as far as culture is concerned. The way the brand image is cultivated in the minds of employees creating confidence and pride by creative ways in which main ideas are repeated and imprinted is critical.

The “We” feel
Celebrations and coming together are not a waste of money. Instead it creates culture. It creates an immense and invaluable memory bank of good times together. What bonds families is the time they spent together. In the same way, Organisations which create avenues for meaningful get together is building a rock-solid foundation for retaining their best work force in the best of good will and loyalty.

If you want me to single out one word or concept which contributes to great culture, I can answer in one word. That is purpose. It is an understanding of purpose that gives an organisation the reason for its existence. It is an earnest belief in purpose that helps an organisation endure difficult times and come through crisises stronger and vibrant than ever before. It is purpose that determines what business to do and what not to pursuse. It is purpose that enables employees to avoid distractions and focus on what is meaningful and absolutely essential. In fact, Organisations thrive when purpose permeates their thinking, attitudes, communication, habits and action.

Let me conclude, whether it is consciously understood or not, every organisation has got a culture. It becomes great when its impact is felt positively and purposefully by all who come in touch with it.

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