In this Path, I’ll show you how to do that. It starts with understanding what culture is and identifying some of the basic levers at your disposal for intentionally shaping culture, regardless of your position inside the organization. Then we’ll dive into the area of culture management, where you will learn what systems need to be in place to make sure your culture stays on the right track. Third, we’ll take some of the mystery out of culture change by exploring how you can align culture with what makes you successful, including giving some case studies of organizations that made key process changes that resulted in meaningful improvements in culture.
If you can’t define culture, then you can’t work with it. The first two articles from Strategy+Business present a good high-level view of the culture challenge, along with some useful anecdotes of how some leaders avoided some of the common pitfalls in culture work. The third article is a brief blog post of mine that give you a one-sentence definition of culture that has the right balance of simplicity and complexity. Then you’ll have two Forbes articles that talk about how you can change culture—one for CEOS, and one for people “not in charge.”
Culture either evolves on its own, or you intentionally shape it—and you can’t shape it unless you have processes and systems in place to do that. The first article in this section is from HBR and has a nice case study of the tech company, Asana, where they talk about how they improved culture by treating it like a “product” and working to fix “bugs.” Then there are several articles that map out the basic definitions and parameters for culture management, including the Forbes article that connects culture management to improving employee engagement. It closes with a blog post with some tips for making culture change sustainable over time.
The point of culture is not about looking cool to the outside world—the point is to make your enterprise more successful. So as you start the work of culture management, be sure that you’re heading in the right direction. The first HBR article makes an interesting connection between culture and risk management. Then there are a couple of blog posts that will help you understand the patterns inside your culture, and how they connect (or don’t connect) to your success drivers. After that we present two case studies of organizations that made changes to their culture in order to make improvements in the areas of agility and innovation. Finally, the longest article is at the end, but it’s important—it tells the story of an organization that created a successful culture, only to find it needed another round of changes a few years later.