Apr 25

Transforming Corporate Culture

How do organizations make a name for themselves, get a lion share of the market, and racked in billions on net revenues? Should they do it the Toyota way by creating a rigid Total Quality Management System (TQM)? Or should they do it the GE way by having a Visionary CEO who will take them to new heights like Jack Welch did in his heydays? Or should they do it the Apple way, by not listening to what the market says and instead create a product that the market will love like a cult?


No. Although they could try any of those approaches and probably succeed, but they missed the crucial element –corporate culture. Different approaches but what made them succeed is the underlying culture behind the way they do business.

Corporate Culture Defines Organizational Success


If at any rate your organization has adopted any of the business models I have mentioned above, it is perfectly okay. Besides, these corporate giants showed us a better and proven ways of doing business. However, before you exhaust your resources into getting into their moulds, look within your organization and see what you have that makes you different and competitive. More often, you will be surprised to see that the values you try to espouse are your edge. These values determine the kind of corporate culture you currently have or would like to have.


Those 3 giants turned into household names because of the corporate culture they imbibe. And I believe that’s what defined theirs success, what made them conquer their market, and what made them weather economic crisis after the other.


Corporate Culture Matters


Corporate culture is inherent in any organization. It matters. Lisa Jackson and Gerry Schmidt, both corporate culture experts and co-authored, “Transforming Corporate Culture: 9 Natural Truths for Being Fit to Compete,” were right when they said that that culture is not something you build, it is there when the company crawled out the belly of its startup mother or its founders’ novel ideas. What makes it a reckoning power for any organization is when you transform it into a competitive edge. I believe Jackson and Schmidt put it bluntly,

Culture is in the eye of the hurricane: The calm, powerful, centered ability of your organization to win in the Darwin game. Culture is what allows you to be in enough alignment to adapt quickly, build sustained growth, and compete in a global economy (even when you are local).


Corporate Culture is Key to Organizational Competitiveness


It is observable that more and more organizations these days are focusing their business strategies from relying on tangible resources to the intangible such as developing values, creating reliable knowledge bases, management systems, strong brand and a mission-centric organization. Apparently, this has been brought into light by highly competitive and successful companies who have embraced a culture where everyone in the organization are adapting to changes, putting emphasis on creativity, transparent communications and shared values. This is not an overnight phenomenon. These organizations invested time and efforts in creating this kind of culture.


This is what Jackson and Schmidt argue in their book, that,

Culture transform through a deposit of very specific and consistent actions, over time these deposits are like compound interest: They exponentially foster an environment in which the business can thrive and grow.




While that is easy said than done, the underlying impetus to drive an organization to excellence in the way they do and produce things for their customers is creating a corporate culture that embraces values that are supportive of their business objectives.


Transforming Corporate Culture: 9 Natural Truths for Being Fit to Compete


Here’s the hard reality, business is changing. As technology evolves so quickly, and so is the way of doing business. Yesterday’s effective business models do not scale today. The key is transforming your culture to compete. Jackson and Schmidt have written a powerful book that encapsulates effective cultural interventions that work. They drew from their wealth of experience helping organizations find their competitive winning identity.


Drawing their case through parsing nature’s natural way of growth and evolution, the book, Transforming Corporate Culture, proffers that developing culture within the walls of the organization takes the same process. Extracting nine lessons from nature and using them as a tool for diagnosing organizational and business issues, and highlighting stories and experiences from CEO’s, they have aptly demonstrated that creating a competitive corporate culture is key to any business success.


Indeed, change is inevitable and that an organization can’t fight it. If it needs to survive the Darwinian credo of competing in the market, it has to evolve into a superior organization through its culture for culture is a power to be reckoned. Thus top management and their teams need to understand what culture is, how it drives competition and how to reshape their organization’s ability to dominate their industry; exceed their revenue goals; find better ways of serving their customers; and allowing their employees to participate in making these into realities.

1 comment

  1. Jai

    This is a tough one.The primary resaon that people are terminated from a job is in not getting along with co-workers. My feeling is that the people who are going to hire you like you in the first few minutes (first interview) but when they spend more time with you, they find things about you that will be problematic with the group you’d work with.As a former owner of several companies, I had similar issues in hiring people. Things that would be the kiss of death for a potential employee (and I never told them this) were: someone who smokes (too much time outside), too talkative (too much time wasted), too much of a know-it-all (destroys team spirit), too much pontificating of a religious belief), and others.You need to take a hard look at yourself and see if you have any abrasive qualities, anything that would get on the nerves of people after they have been around you for more than the first interview. It’s likely that you won’t be able to recognize these yourself. In that case, ask a friend someone who will be brutally honest with you. It’s my guess that the problem will be revealed if you do this. Once you know the problem, it’s up to you to take steps to solve it.Or, maybe you will soon find a place that’s the perfect fit for you. Good luck.

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