The idea of organizational culture may seem a bit nebulous and may feel uncomfortable or “touchy-feely.” Yet, it is real, and a healthy organizational culture is incredibly important for enduring success.

What Is Organizational Culture?

Culture in an organization is expressed by the pattern of getting things done that reflects the values, behaviors, and shared vision of all the stakeholders. It contributes to the living environment of the organization. The culture sets the context for everything that the enterprise does. A strong organizational culture is a distinguishing feature among the most successful companies as it contributes to focus, unity, and productivity.

The 10 Pillars of Organizational Culture

Use these pillars to improve your organizational culture:

  1. Understand the current culture and start there. A new culture can’t simply swap out an old one like changing socks. It already has good components to work with and build-on. Culture can’t be upgraded by a management memo that tells people to simply “culture up.” 
  2. Work on changing identified behaviors and the way people think will follow suit. Behavioral science indicates that people act their way into believing instead of thinking their way into acting. 
  3. Focus on a few critical behaviors versus trying to change many behaviors. 
  4. Engage with the informal leaders in the organization who exhibit authentic leadership traits. They can be valuable allies for change in “showing by doing” the desired cultural behaviors. 
  5. Don’t allow the formal leaders to depart from the change plan. 
  6. Link all desired behaviors to critical business objectives. 
  7. Try to demonstrate quick impact. 
  8. Use cross-organizational methods to effect change. 
  9. Align new cultural norms with existing ways of doing business. 
  10. Actively live in the culture and continue to evolve it over time.  

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