A leader’s look at corporate culture–5 questions to ask yourself

In a new Core Beliefs and Culture survey, consulting firm Deloitte looks at the impact that corporate culture has on employee ratings of happiness and perceived self-value at work.  The results provide a good reminder for leaders on the relative importance of words and actions when it comes to creating a strong culture that engages people and leads to better financial performance.

Here are the five questions that Deloitte asked a random sample of 1,000 U. S. residents aged 18 years or older who are employed full time in a company with 100 employees or more.

How would you score your company in these five areas?

Figure 1: Adapted from Deloitte Core Beliefs and Culture survey

Now consider the relative impact that your answers have on your subsequent happiness and sense of being valued at work.  What is the connection for you?  Here is what the people that Deloitte surveyed had to say:

Figure 2: Adapted from Deloitte Core Beliefs and Culture survey

Key Takeaways: 

  1. Don’t leave culture to chance.  You have an opportunity to create a distinct and purposeful culture.  Think about the values that you want to guide your organization.  Consider what those values would look like if they were a common practice in your organization.  What would people be doing and saying?  How would they be acting?
  2. Keep it simple.  Don’t get caught up in the “word-smithing” of the culture statement.  It’s important to get a clear picture of what you want in mind, but make sure to take the second step of simplifying the message into a key theme that people can remember.
  3. Act on it.  There is a huge difference in the impact that comes from living the values as opposed to just talking about them.  In the table above, check out the difference that leaders practicing the values has over leaders discussing the values.

Actions do speak louder than words–especially when it comes to employees feeling happy and valued at work.  To see more about the Deloitte research, be sure to check out the executive summary of the Core Beliefs and Culture study.

10 thoughts on “A leader’s look at corporate culture–5 questions to ask yourself

  1. Pingback: A leader’s look at corporate culture–5 questions to ask yourself | UpSearchCoach

  2. What’s interesting, and missing, is the relationship between culture and the companies Vision/Mission/Strategy. Having a culture where everybody is happy and feels valued is great, but if they don’t know where they are headed and understand how their role contributes to that effort, then all the happiness in the world isn’t going to translate into better organizational performance, which, after all, should be a key by-product of having such a culture.

    • Hi John,
      Thanks for the reminder that employee’s need a clear sense of the organization’s goals and their role in achieving them. That is something that Gallup found out also as they followed up with their engagement studies. In their book Human Sigma, they found out that it was a combination of clear customer-focused goals and an engaging environment that produced the best financial results.

  3. Wonderful Blog! Thanks for sharing.. It is really helpful and interesting for all of company leaders when it comes to creating a strong culture that engages people and leads to better financial performance.

    • Hi Mike,
      Thanks for your kind words. This Deloitte research highlights the impact that senior leadership has on creating a positive, enriching work culture. And it really focuses on two aspects–one, setting a purposeful direction for the company, and two, walking the talk!

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  4. Pingback: Daily Leadership Thought #64 – You Are Your Values « Ed Robinson's Blog

  5. Fascinating read, the Deloitte core beliefs and culture survey which is a simplistic guideline provided me with interesting insightful findings about my colleague’s sentiments regarding the culture of the organisation. My organisation is currently undergoing workforce transformation, about to appoint a new leader therefore these changes will have an impact in the corporate culture.

    The outcomes from the survey makes it possible to appoint a new leader who will indoctrinate a set of new organizational core values and mission. Majority of my colleagues perceived this move as an effective means of shifting from the previous command and control structure and embracing a democratic leadership which brings a balanced approach in including employees in decision making process, encourage creativity and problem solving.

    Nevertheless there is some form of resistance from current top management stemming from fear of loss of power. This resistance has to be acknowledged in creating a Change Management Strategy which must clearly define the goals of this cultural shift and necessary action to be taken.

    Executing change within the organisation will require Transformational Team Building and Workplace Diversity Management programs for executives, managers, and employees. Re- branding the organisation and educating the customer through marketing campaigns will demonstrate new vision and mission of the organisation.

    Further, evaluation is required to monitor the change process against the goals using the SMART principle of goal setting developed by (Doran, G.T. 1981)

    Once the change process has reached the expected outcomes, the new culture must be institutionalise which as a result create high job satisfactory employees where their business inputs are valued during decision making process and in essence makes the customer satisfied

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