Recognise This! – Defining desired values is useless without making those values real for employees in behaviour.

How do you define company culture? Since this is a topic I’m passionate about, I’ve read many descriptions of company culture over the years. One I particularly like appeared recently in Harvard Business Review:

“In practical terms, culture is not an intangible cloud that hangs over a company, but an outcome of the way people behave on multiple dimensions. Better understanding of these behavioural patterns — and how each person experiences them — makes it possible to decide whether to continue them or not.”

Your culture is an outcome of the way your employees behave. This begs the question, “Precisely how are you encouraging your employees to behave?”

What are you using as the guideposts for employees to follow on desired behaviours? We always strongly recommend your core values – after all, your management team invested a good deal of time at some point determining these values to be critical to company success.

The challenge lies in helping employees understand how those abstract values translate into real actions and behaviours in their daily work. It’s your values in action that define your culture – not your values hanging on a plaque on the wall.

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