How to Align Corporate Culture With Your Business Goals

If you’re looking to develop a culture for your organization there are a lot of options out there. Truth is, there are almost as many cultures as there are organizations. So it can be tricky to nail one down. But as Adam Bryant,  In this video, and after consulting with hundreds of managers, former Deputy National Editor of The New York Times, states “Culture really is the X factor that’s going to drive results and I’ve heard that from a lot of really smart CEOs.” 

So if you’re struggling to define yours, don’t panic. There’s a guidepost that’ll help you in more ways than one.  If your organization has clear business goals you can bet on a smoother path to success if you do one thing: make sure that your culture is in harmony with those goals. Once you do that, you’ll not only set yourself apart from the competition, you’ll have a winning combination that makes things happen. 

Why is this duo so important?

When you think about it, it just makes sense that business goals and culture are on the same wavelength. Imagine you’re in the ice cream business and you’ve set a goal to produce the most original ice cream flavours in the world right now. But your work culture doesn’t encourage staff to share new ideas. In fact, your workplace is built on a culture of silence where everyone works in their own cubicles and they barely say “hello” let alone, “I have an ice cream flavour idea.” It’s quite easy to figure out that it’ll be almost impossible for an organization to achieve their goals like this. 

So, where do you start?

Develop business goals. Think about why your business was created and then, as Peter Vanden Bos says in an Inc.com article called, “How to Set Business Goals,” create business goals that fall into four categories that include service, social, profit and growth. In the same article, Maria Marshall, an associate professor from Purdue University who has made it her job to study large and small businesses, says if you want to make sure that your goals translate into action, it’s a good idea to use the SMART formula:

  • Specific. Define specific goals and make them as detailed as possible. 
  • Measurable. Add a dollar amount or percentage to the goal. 
  • Action-oriented. Explain what actions have to happen, who will do them, and when.
  • Realistic. Make sure that you have the resources to make your goal a reality. 
  • Time specific. Set a deadline to keep things on track.

Now, for the special sauce:

Once you have established your business goals, think about the kind of culture that’ll take your goals to the next level. Which values, attitudes and beliefs are going to compliment your business goals? What is your organization’s personality? What kind of employee traits matter most to you? How will your organization set itself apart from the competition? What will make it special? To help you decide, take a look at our past blog called, What Type of Culture Should You Create, that narrows it down to eight different categories. Once you define your culture, compare those traits with your current business goals. See where they overlap and what areas might need some work. And remember, as your business goals change, your culture will need to be updated too.  

In a Businessnewsdaily.com article called, 3 Things Most Successful Businesses Do Right, Chad Brooks writes that after researching 56 successful companies that included FedEx, Coca-Cola, Target and American Express, 76 executives at 27 companies reported that along with other actions, their success happened because of the following: 

  • They worked to attract and retain talent through a strong brand reputation; 
  • They aligned their organizational structure to support their business strategy; and
  • They worked hard to create and maintain a culture.

In other words, this is a winning combination of ingredients that’s been proven time and again.

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