Our Thoughts

Building an intentional organizational culture

Posted by Patrick Manyanza on Sep 26 2013

Intentionally or not organizations develop their own culture. Every organization has a culture, the question is, “Was the culture intentional or unintentional?” Sadly and all too often the culture that emerges in many organizations is unintentional. The problem is that most unintentional cultures do not drive the organization forward towards better productivity and greater achievements.

Great organizational cultures are built on the premise of "creating experiences that make employees and customers feel valued and appreciated." Now let's take a look at three guidelines towards building a great culture.

  1. Vision - A clear vision of what you are doing is the starting point of a great culture. This is really the blueprint of what your organization intends to do. However, too many organizational visions remain mere statements on walls with hardly any meaning to the organization. True visions must be alive and evident within employees. It's important for a vision to be effectively communicated all throughout the organization because it acts as a guide for people's decisions and actions within the organization. A vision drives strategic management.
  2. Purpose - Purpose is the reason why you are doing what you are doing. It's imperative to let your people know why the vision matters. When people understand and embrace purpose, they will be filled with more passion and this in turn turns up their performance.
  3. Values - Many organizations make the mistake of having their core values written in their documents or displaying them on their office walls with the hope their employees will begin to live them. Displaying them certainly looks good but in order for people to live them, the vision and purpose of the organization have to first be clearly communicated and understood. Your values should be specific to your company and they need to be aligned with your vision and purpose. Well integrated within the overall functioning of the organization values shape the culture of the organization.

When you get clear on what you do, why you do it and then combine that with the right specific values to go with those aspects, you will then attract people who are going to create the culture and bring it to life.

A few questions to think about:

  • Is your organizational vision and purpose clearly understood by all in your organization?
  • Are the organizational values in line with your vision and purpose?
  • Does your organizational culture reflect those values?
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