Since culture seems to be quite the buzzword lately, I found myself wondering if it’s actually possible to change a company’s culture. There is such an emphasis put on good company culture, but what does that mean exactly? And if a company has a bad culture can the leaders and employees actually change it?
I think a good culture depends on what the organization is trying to achieve. I tend to believe Patagonia has a good company culture because they take care of their employees, have a strong focus on the environment and are committed to their values. However, this type of company culture isn’t for every organization nor would it be possible to replicate since Patagonia’s culture is really its brand.
While I believe that an employee-centered culture will get a company further than anything else, there are many different focal points an organization can choose. For example, a tech company may offer a culture centered around innovation or a non-profit may focus on giving back not only to its area of expertise, but to the community as well. Culture works best when an organization is not spread too thin and can focus on creating a purposeful, deliberate culture.
I think that it’s possible to shift a company’s culture, but it’s not an easy feat. Leadership must be dedicated and follow-through with the new plan while employees must be flexible and open to new ideas. Here is a thorough path of suggestions for successfully altering a company’s culture.
Also, a company should be leery of biting off more than it can handle when changing a very tenured, engrained culture. People have a tendency to be stuck in their ways and may see this as an over-haul of traditions and style even if it may not be the most effective or efficient way. Companies should focus on the critical aspects of change they want to achieve and be able to create small wins within those aspects.
Culture is based on behaviors, so changing will take time. Companies should look for pieces of the culture that are currently working and celebrate the wins. Organizations can be successful with a culture shift if it is willing to put in the work and encourage all team members to change for the better.
Has your company tried to improve its culture? Let me know the process in the comment section below.