Transform Your Company Culture Without Losing Its Essence


The opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Few challenges for a founder are greater than relinquishing control of a company they have worked tirelessly, often over a lifetime, to build. However, nothing is more necessary when the founder plans to scale their business. And while entrepreneurs generally understand that the culture that brought them “here” won’t get them “there,” they worry about how they can grow while preserving the essence of their organization.

As a human capital consultant specializing in workplace cultures, I can say with absolute certainty that it is both possible and often essential to preserve a company’s ‘secret recipe’ as it grows. But that doesn’t mean that cultural nuances like decision-making paradigms can’t and shouldn’t change. Founders who allow and participate in the deliberate evolution of their culture will inevitably find that their businesses grow faster and become more sustainable over time. Crucially, they can achieve this while maintaining their mission and values, and identifying the essential elements of their organization that need to be preserved.

Understand the nuances of culture better

For many, the definition of a company’s culture mistakenly boils down to whether it’s simply positive or negative—a great place to work or one that drives good people away. The reality is that culture is far more complex. It is defined by a set of behaviors in areas such as power, perspective and creativity, as well as time, interdependence, communication and inclusion. Every organization is made up of these normalized behaviors that actually exist along a spectrum. This means, for example, that an organization does not allow or forbid creativity, but rather does so gradually.

With this in mind, founders should understand that evolving their culture to grow can involve both subtle and dramatic changes. Additionally, it can change the norms of their organizations in far more nuanced ways than most initially realize.

To illustrate, a leader achieving rapid growth might decide that they want to retain most aspects of their organizational culture but need to ensure isolated team members work better together. Additionally, expansion into new regions may require the organization to become more inclusive to better support team members who bring increasingly diverse perspectives, local knowledge, and life experiences.

Provision of data and analysis for culture-promoting initiatives

Similar to human capital work, culture building is often viewed as a right-brain soft skill area, leading to inaccurate ideas about the process of developing organizational cultures. In fact, there are clever, data-driven approaches to doing this work that always lead to an overall strategy.

For example, a close examination of institutional materials—from mission statements to engagement data to transcripts of exit interviews—serves as a basis for launching rigorous, targeted culture-building initiatives. This analysis – coupled with in-depth interviews with founders, as well as in-depth board and employee interviews, surveys and walkthroughs – uncovers a wealth of contextual information and provides companies with the data they need to map their current culture versus their ideal design You have workflows that facilitate the desired cultural transition.

This rigorous, context-driven approach helps take the guesswork out of culture education initiatives. In addition, it ensures founders feel heard, respected and safe, that the companies they built retain their key cultural elements, even if they may look and feel different in Phase 2.0 of their development.

Accept the act of letting go

There is no escaping the fact that significant organizational expansions typically require founders to step down from many of the responsibilities they previously held and often enjoyed. Understanding this, it would be prudent to prepare for moments when relinquishing control evokes a complex mix of feelings, including concerns that their organizations and respective cultures are changing too radically.

Within my own company, our founder Dr. Foster Mobley witnessed this change. Looking back on his experience, he advises other founders to keep a healthy distance from organizational departments or areas set aside for transition. He also believes that outside experts can help distinguish between situations where a founder’s involvement is warranted and situations that just stir their emotions. According to Foster, who himself navigated the transition from CEO to CEO emeritus, there was nothing more reassuring about his company’s culture and heritage than knowing he shared the vision and values ​​of the leaders he brought to the company to fuel its growth.

Given the blood, sweat, and tears that founders put into their organizations, it’s understandable that they care about the direction of their companies, even as they try to step away from their previously defined roles. Fortunately, while also building a culture to usher in new eras of growth, it’s possible to celebrate these heroic efforts and fit them into well-established origin stories and corporate narratives.

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share post:




More like this