For an organisation, culture is defined by the behaviour of its leaders, its people and the processes.
- People—People are diverse. When they come into an organisation they bring, along with their technical competencies and skills, their individual behaviour with regards to leadership, team-work and communication ability.
- Processes—Processes impact on how the employees carry out their activities. Either the processes aid daily work or they hinder and as a result be the source of a tremendous stress.
- Business Purpose—Leaders need to clearly articulate the vision of the organisation or and what it is they need to do to ensure the organisation is sustainable.
A mix of these three creates the organisational cultural mask.
This mask, knowingly or unknowingly, is the behaviour of the organisation on a daily basis and impacts on its brand identity. In today’s globalized era organisations operate multi-cultural teams on virtual and physical basis. As organisations reach their brand to various parts of the globe, this cultural mask goes along as an image and identity.
This is the brand image, personality and identity.
Physically this identity manifests as a logo and the people representing the organisation and the contents being offered.
But interestingly, the external manifestation of the brand is totally dependent on the value system that the organisation believes in and alignment of the same with its employees.
Coming from different corners of the world, individually, we carry with us our own baggage of diverse cultural beliefs into work. Whilst most self-development books and managers’ guides tell us to operate, in what’s possibly, two silos– a personal self and a professional self– in reality that’s a tough call!
Tough because we are governed by our emotions and our emotions come about due to the habits we have.
Habits are behaviours that we project every minute of the day.
Throw into this mix the impact of behaviour from the leaders and you end up having a pretty heady concoction!
The importance of behaviour from the leaders cannot be understated. What the leaders, knowingly or unknowingly, display sets the behavioural indicators for employees who then emulate the same. This has serious implications on the day-to-day functioning of an organisation, on the emotional (and physical health) of the employee, and finally on the organisation’s culture, brand image and reputation.
In developing a culture leadership is a key lever that needs to be pulled & pushed!
Depending on the industry sector and the organisations’ position within that sector and its mission, leadership is the only critical element that will either build or destroy the organisation. Leadership can impact on the organisational culture positively or negatively.
Based on my personal experience, of having worked across industries, countries and developed a few multi-cultural teams, an effective work culture comes about from developing a collection of beliefs and the resulting behaviour from it.
These beliefs come about from processes and leadership. For example:
- Monthly management meetings are used to track progress against strategy and is not a ‘work-in-progress’ management update meeting.
- The way senior management manages these processes i.e. the individuals own work-style personality that is expressed in the meeting is an indicator of the leadership at-work.
The processes, impacted by the leadership style results in certain behaviours which, directly impact employee motivation and engagement, as well as the quality of work output. Overtime this set of behaviours, becomes the unwritten norm for the organisation in terms of:
- Interaction within colleagues i.e. internal brand representation &
- External interaction with stakeholders i.e. external brand representation
This behavioural environment represents itself as the character of the organisation through staff and becomes the organisational culture.