Since the culture of any company is the sum of the behaviors of each individual employee, a three-link chain exists:
- The first link involves what people within the organization are actually doing, and why they’re doing it.
- The second link involves the culture that is then created.
- The third link involves the results that then flow from that culture and are felt by both employees and customers.Therefore, organizations wishing to impact results must look at the organization’s current culture, then take a step back to determine which behaviors are driving that culture. Putting a focus on changing individual behavior will ultimately impact the culture, so this impact should also be felt by all stakeholders in the company’s success, including its customers.
However, when deciding which behaviors need to be addressed first, attention must be given to the desired culture. Once this goal is determined, it is much easier to look at which behaviors would reflect that culture and follow them up with relevant training and reinforcement. In order to determine what the culture should be, it’s essential to look at the third link in the chain, and determine which results will most benefit the shareholders, customers, and employees.
An organization can have a very distinct number of cultures, and three of them will clearly have a significant impact on an organization’s results and performance.
The first type of culture is one that reflects a commitment to customer centricity. In this culture, every employee considers how the work they do ultimately impacts the paying customer. This culture is different from customer service, which is primarily the priority of customer-facing employees.
Historically, decisions in organizations were made, based on internal, functional priorities, rather than the potential impact on the customer. That’s why every decision made in a customer-centric organization is made by every employee throughout the organization, from the sales team to the finance team. And each decision is made by considering how it will ultimately benefit (or harm) the customers and their experiences.
To achieve this type of culture, a shift in behavior may be required that’s different than what most employees exhibit and are comfortable with. However, this shift can notably improve the customer experience and the chance of repeat business.
In an accountable culture, every individual is committed to ensuring that their promises will be delivered on time and will meet the company’s standards. With that understanding comes healthy pressure to be innovative, make quick decisions, use good judgement, consider alternatives, learn from mistakes, and create best practices.
While these behaviors are desirable within any organization, those behaviors immediately benefit the organization and its commitments in a culture where accountability is fully understood and is a cultural norm.
The third culture involves high employee engagement. Engaged employees take initiative, are highly motivated to think beyond their daily responsibilities, and consider the long-term impact of the things they do and say. These individuals tend to stay with a company longer, recommend it to their colleagues and friends, and aspire to excel within the organization.
This culture also brings a level of commitment that typically results in more efficient work with higher standards. Ultimately, when a culture is made of highly engaged individuals who are performing at the tops of their game, their effort increases the organization’s profitability and productivity, and significantly lowers safety incidents, turnover rates, and absenteeism.
Each of these three cultures (customer centricity, accountability, and engagement) can be effectively integrated into a single culture.
If the organization is truly committed to putting the customer first, holding people accountable to that priority, and engaging them in the work to be done, it provides an environment where individuals can do what is necessary to deliver the larger goals. At that time, both the culture and the results will be remarkable.
Phil Geldart is founder and Chief Executive Officer at Eagle’s Flight. Comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.