by Chris Dyer, Keynote Speaker and Bestselling Author The business world is grappling with rapid technological disruptions from AI. While technology like AI-driven automation is reshaping our traditional work models, it’s vital to realize the soul of a potent company culture extends beyond just the digital tools. It’s about the deeply rooted values, attitudes, and behaviors echoing throughout an organization. These are the essential components that strengthen a company’s organizational culture. The transformative wave of AI and the shift towards remote work have made companies reassess their strategies. The need is greater than ever for businesses to ensure their core values are not just buzzwords but the essence that permeates every facet of their operations. In the face of rapid technological advancements, companies must anchor themselves to their foundational principles. The importance lies in ensuring that values are not just posters on a wall but lived experiences for every team member. It’s this customer-centric company culture that steers a company toward long-term success. Now is the golden window of opportunity for businesses to introspectively reassess their core values, how these are communicated by leadership, and the methodologies employed for their reinforcement. This introspection might be the cultural rejuvenation your establishment is yearning for. The transformative wave of AI and the shift towards remote work has challenged organizations to reevaluate not only their operational procedures but also their core principles. The digital landscape offers a myriad of tools and platforms that can make operations smoother, but they can never replace the human touch, the genuine connections, and the shared purpose that unifies a team. In this era of disruption, it becomes paramount for businesses to ensure that their core values are not just buzzwords but truly permeate every facet of their operations. In the blur of rapid technological advancements, there is a compelling urgency for companies to anchor themselves to their foundational principles. The onus is on leadership to foster an environment where these values are not just posters on a wall but lived experiences for every team member. When AI and algorithms dominate the conversation, let us remember the timeless truth that it is the shared ethos, collective spirit, and unwavering values that truly steer a company toward long-term success and sustainability. The 7 Pillars of Company Culture In the pages of my best-selling book, “The Power of Company Culture,” I explain the “7 Pillars” that make up a strong and successful company culture. These pillars are not just theoretical concepts; they are proven cornerstones that have the power to transform any organization. As the second edition of the book gears up for its launch on October 31st, 2023, let us dive deep into understanding the essence of these pillars and how they intersect with the evolving dynamics of modern workplaces. It is undeniable that the modern workforce, more than ever, considers factors beyond just the paycheck. Today’s employees weigh in on their well-being, the quality of work-life balance, and the kind of organizational culture they would immerse themselves in. Organizational culture, in its very essence, encapsulates the relationship we foster with our workspace. It influences our perceptions, motivations, and daily interactions with our job and the broader company environment. This intricate web of values, beliefs, and shared visions dictates whether an organization thrives in a harmonious crescendo or disintegrates in discord. But what precisely is workplace culture? It is an intricate tapestry woven from the shared values, beliefs, expectations, and visions championed by organizational leaders and internalized by its members. Each workspace, like an individual, boasts a distinct cultural identity. Yet, across this spectrum of diversity, one element stands unchallenged: businesses rooted in a formidable corporate culture will have unparalleled success. As per insights from McKinsey, companies that prioritize inclusive cultures tend to outperform their peers in profitability. Understanding the gravity of workplace culture is integral to its implementation. The aura and ethos of an organization play a pivotal role in dictating its trajectory. A nurturing, positive work environment is crucible for heightened engagement, surging productivity, unparalleled motivation, and profound employee well-being. It is no mere coincidence that happier workers, as noted by research from the University of Oxford, highlight a 13% spike in productivity. As the iconic Peter Drucker once remarked, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” This underscores the fact that even the most meticulously crafted strategies crumble if they clash against the tides of a weak corporate culture. Drawing an analogy, if we liken companies to living organisms, culture is the lifeblood coursing through them. Just as toxic air spells doom for our health, a corrosive workplace culture can be the Achilles heel for any organization. In the age where AI-driven automation and remote working paradigms are reshaping our traditional work models, establishing a rock-solid organizational culture is not just desirable; it is imperative. This strategic shift acts as a bulwark against the creation of silos and fragmentation of teams. Yet, irrespective of the type, the foundational tenet remains: a thriving company culture is no accident. It is a meticulously crafted masterpiece. Business leaders shoulder the onus of curating and championing this culture, ensuring it aligns with the company’s ethos and resonates with its members. A harmonious work culture is not just a magnet for top-tier talent; it is the glue that binds them, ensuring their tenure with the company is not just transient but transformative. These are: Transparency
Mistakes Collectively, these pillars serve as the cornerstone for stellar organizational culture. Any enterprise that internalizes and operationalizes these tenets will undoubtedly witness enhancements in performance, productivity, and profitability. But this is not mere conjecture. Each pillar is rooted in robust evidence and insights. Authors Daniel Pinksi and Simon Sinek have particularly influenced the foundation of these pillars. Pink emphasizes the essence of ensuring that employees experience Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose in their roles, an idea beautifully encapsulated in his video, “Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us.” Simon Sinek, on the other hand, advocates for discerning and focusing on your organization’s inherent “why”—the core reason for its existence, beautifully explored in his book, “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.” This focus aids in refracting your culture through optimized marketing and messaging, akin to mastering the intricacies of a language. With such foundational understanding, businesses can lay the cornerstone for their cultural edifice. Here is a succinct breakdown of the 7 Pillars of Cultural Greatness to serve as your architectural blueprint: Transparency Definition: Transparency refers to the open and honest sharing of information, particularly financials and goals, within an organization.
Explanation: Organizations with transparent cultures prioritize keeping everyone in the loop, emphasizing the importance of everyone understanding the organization’s financial health and objectives. This ensures that all team members are on the same page and can contribute towards a common goal, recognizing its significance in maintaining a competitive edge. Acknowledgment Definition: Acknowledgement involves recognizing and validating the accomplishments and efforts of team members.
Explanation: It’s crucial for organizations to celebrate the successes and resilience of their employees. By acknowledging their achievements, especially those who have overcome significant challenges, companies boost morale and motivation. This recognition strengthens bonds and reinforces the value of every individual’s contribution.
Uniqueness Definition: Uniqueness is about having a distinctive identity or language that sets an organization apart.
Explanation: Companies like Walmart have their own jargon or “secret language” that gives a sense of belonging to their employees. These unique terms and acronyms foster a sense of community and identity within the company, setting it apart from competitors and strengthening internal bonds. Measurement Definition: Measurement involves using objective metrics or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to assess performance and drive decision-making.
Explanation: By consistently measuring various aspects of the business, such as sales or customer satisfaction, organizations can make informed decisions. Objective data helps in setting benchmarks, identifying areas of improvement, and ensuring consistent growth and success.
Listening Definition: Listening is the act of genuinely paying attention to others, ensuring that their opinions and concerns are heard and understood.
Explanation: A culture that values listening promotes effective teamwork and collaboration. When employees feel heard, it fosters a sense of belonging and value, driving engagement and productivity. It’s not just about hearing; it’s about understanding and taking feedback into account.
Mistakes Definition: This pillar differentiates between simple errors, which are oversights or inaccuracies, and mistakes, which arise from calculated risks.
Explanation: While errors can often be attributed to factors like multitasking or overwork, mistakes often result from innovative endeavors. Recognizing the difference allows companies to address errors while also celebrating the unexpected successes that might arise from taking risks
Definition: Positivity is about fostering a culture of optimism, focusing on strengths and opportunities.
Explanation: In a positive culture, challenges are reframed as opportunities for growth. By focusing on what’s working, employees feel motivated and engaged. Tools like Appreciative Inquiry emphasize solution-based thinking, shifting the focus from problems to potential.
Conclusion Navigating the intricate terrains of today’s business world underscores the undeniable importance of a robust company culture. Far from being a mere benefit, it stands as the cornerstone of sustainable success. By weaving the seven pillars seamlessly into your organization’s very fabric, you pave the path for enduring growth and unparalleled achievement.
CHRIS DYER Chris Dyer is a recognized company culture and remote work expert. As a former CEO managing thousands of people, his companies consistently were named a best place to work. They have also been named a fastest growing company by Inc Magazine 5 times. Chris routinely consults and speaks, and Inc Magazine ranked him as the #1 Leadership Speaker on Culture. He has two bestselling books The Power of Company Culture and Remote Work, and has been named #5 on the Leadershum Power List, a Top 40 Change Management Guru, a Top 50 Global Thought Leader, and a Top 50 leadership podcast just this year. As a leadership speaker his goal is to inspire audiences with a straightforward delivery, insightful candor, and engaging humor. His talks leave audiences permanently transformed, offering innovative perspectives on leadership to improve company culture, and empower organizations to discover new successes. Countless companies have unlocked productivity, performance, and profits by implementing his 7 Pillar Strategy.