Design | Culture | Introduction


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What creates a great Corporate culture? First, critical behaviours. Critical behaviours are those ways of doing things in your current operations that can easily spread from one employee to another and have the potential to have a real impact on business. Southwest Airlines, for example, focuses on three critical items: make every customer experience a good one, make sure everyone hired energizes the people around them, and do everything on the cheap.

Like that airline, you need to pinpoint a few critical change items that embody the cultural priorities you are seeking. Then harness them to strengthen and modify the existing culture. Getting it down to just a few will be difficult. One company initially identified 20 to 25 variables needing adjustment. To get an emotional boost from culture, which is deeply embedded, managers have to narrow it down to three or four.

The inclination will be to tackle change that is holding you back, such as lack of collaboration or not giving honest feedback to colleagues. Instead, Arcus recommends that you take stock of the positive aspects of your culture and consider which elements could be used to drive the behaviours you seek most. Ask the following questions:

  1. How visible would these behaviours be if a senior executive were to exhibit them? Would others throughout the organization see and recognize the change?
  2. Will these behaviours be contagious enough to be spread through social networks and peer relationships?
  3. What potential do the behaviours have to create real, measurable business impact?