How to Leverage Your Culture to Make 2018 Extraordinary

Do you believe you have the secret formula to make your business extraordinary in 2018? Duke University Fuqua School of Business surveyed nearly 1,900 CEOs and CFOs. The results identified corporate culture as the number one driver of economic business value.

And this data was collected before the recent spike of attention on culture as a result of the wave of allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace. Boards and leaders across all industries are scrambling to ensure their cultures aren’t a potential liability to business success.

Does your culture give you the talent advantage?

Unemployment rates are at their lowest in decades. Statistics Canada recently announced that the Canadian unemployment rate fell to 5.7 per cent, the lowest in 40 years. In the United States, the rate fell to 4.1% which is the lowest rate in the last 17 years.

With a skills shortage also raising its head, the war for talent is facing a double whammy. More than ever before, job candidates are in the driver’s seat. They’re doing their research about opportunities, wages and organizational culture even before they apply to your company. And once they’re on board, do your new employees experience the same culture promised on your website and during the interview process? When the values of your employees are aligned with your organization’s values, your productivity will soar. People will be passionate about their work and you will have a talent advantage.

Does your culture give you the customer advantage?

When your culture performs as promised, and it’s aligned with your brand promise to your customer, your organization gains the upper hand. Customers are looking for companies they can trust, that deliver on their promises and offer quality products and services. While having a great culture aligned to your brand promise will bring success – think Zappo’s and Apple, when they are misaligned disaster is just around the corner.

Today, cultures condoning sexual misconduct and sexual harassment are paying a hefty price. But even the iconic Canadian coffee shop chain, Tim Horton’s, is seeing a customer backlash due to some owner’s reaction to the recent minimum wage increase. In order to offset the increased costs, they are cutting back on other employee payments. Customers have been quick to call out the unfairness and the caring image of Tim Horton’s is being shredded. Customers are joining social media, #BoycottTimHortons and encouraging people to join in No Timmies Tuesdays.

Where is your culture on the continuum of brand alignment? Are you fully aligned and firing on all cylinders? Or, are you just one poor customer experience away from being a headline?

Does your culture give you the strategic advantage?

When you create a culture that is aligned with the beliefs of the leader by hiring people who share your values and beliefs, then the execution of the strategy and tactics follows. If you believe, as a CEO, that you exist to produce maximum bottom-line results you’ll create a culture that will execute to this mandate. However, this is just a survival business.

What, if like the leaders of Apple, you believe your business is about challenging the status quo and thinking differently. You don’t hire people experienced in the mass manufacturing of hardware. You hire people who believe in the same thing you do, people who embrace throwing away all conventional thoughts about computers. You challenge the status quo by building a service that is beautifully designed, easy to use and user-friendly. And then you happen to package it all up into a computer. Your business isn’t about just surviving year after year, it’s about amazing growth. Where is your company on the continuum between survival and service? Tap into this excellent article by thought leader Richard Barrett for more info about this scale.

The full culture advantage

Happy New Year 2018 from Carol RingCompanies who leverage their culture to hire and retain the best talent, to build sustainable relationships with their customers, and accelerate the strategic plan are seeing exceptional results. Culture is their advantage.

My wish for you this year is for you to more fully tap into the advantageous “secret sauce” that your culture can be. We can help in a variety of ways, contact us to learn more.

Just imagine the year you will have when your people embrace their full potential, your customers are your best marketing tool, and your 2018 business results are extraordinary!

Happy New Year!

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