Corporate Culture to Support Strategy

Today, corporate culture directly impacts every component of a business organization’s performance, ranging from leadership effectiveness to business strategy and planned corporate mergers, explains Nathan Jurczyk. Culture also directly impacts the success of operations, human resources, decision-making processes, customer service, sales and marketing, policies, organization structure and R&D. But too often, corporate culture is seen as vague, undefined and disconnected from business performance. As a result, companies do not even try to measure, manage or develop their cultures.

Quite simply, corporate culture is the collective belief system that people within a company have with respect to their ability to compete in the market place and how they act on those belief systems to carry value-added services and products to customers and bring profits to the company, explains Nathan Jurczyk. Corporate culture is reflected through the attitudes, behaviors, belief systems, commitments, values, decision-making processes, innovation and productivity that impact the long term as well as day-to-day rules of a company.

In this new, information technology era, the paramount goal of corporate culture is to instill a sense of purpose and drive for excellence throughout the business enterprise. Certain goals such as: reinforcement of ethical standards at all levels of the organization, encouragement of reasonable risk taking, innovation within work teams, and the embracing of employee empowerment processes are critical for success, notes Nathan Jurczyk.

Recent developments in the business world have demonstrated that size and corporate pedigree do not allow a company to overcome a failed business culture. However, a strong culture sustains a business during hard times and serves as a reservoir for key ideas and initiatives that carry a company through difficult times. In order to build a strong

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corporate culture, certain issues need to be considered carefully.

Many business plans and mergers fail when the corporate culture is unable to support a new strategy. In an effort to prevent this, there should be no gap between business planning and culture planning. Similarly, corporate culture should embrace change because without change, opportunities for gain will be severely limited. It should also be noted that natural change leaders should be identified and empowered to lead the change process. As a fourth point, there should be reinforcement of ethical conduct at all levels of the organization. This is best accomplished by creating and maintaining one unified culture for the entire company. Fifth, the top management should be at the forefront of the culture building process and defining management style. Sixth, it should always be remembered that corporate culture is about behaviors. Politics, punishment, projection of blame, persistently negative attitudes and obsessive, compulsive behaviors should be replaced with positive behaviors, recommends Nathan Jurczyk.

Understanding and overcoming barriers to culture building process is also important to the business survival. Corporate culture cannot be changed through technology or restructuring alone; it requires an individualized approach with processes that are right for the company. Even changing the name of the company is not a substitute for culture building, explains Nathan Jurczyk. Further, in the light of radical changes facing most companies today, ambitious goals should be set to ensure success. And, most importantly, there should be an on-going commitment to culture rather than waiting until something terrible goes wrong.

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