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Is your culture designed to achieve success?

Boards, CEOs and leadership teams have a choice of:

  • just letting their organisation’s culture happen; or
  • defining the culture they desire to create and doing all you can to guide, form and shape that culture.


Insync believes that boards, CEOs and leadership teams of organisations have a responsibility to be very deliberate about the way they define, guide, form and shape the culture of their organisations.

Defining your desired culture

So how does one define the nature and style of the culture that is most appropriate for their organisation? If you’re clear about and have achieved consensus between your board, CEO and leadership team as to your organisation’s vision, purpose, strategy and main goals then the answer is easy.

Your desired culture will be the one that is most likely to lead to great success and the achievement of your vision, purpose, strategy and your main goals.

A constructive culture will enhance your ability to achieve your strategy and goals. A toxic or destructive culture will be a significant detriment and a hand brake on your ability to achieve your strategy and goals. That’s why being deliberate about the way you define, create, form and shape your culture is so important.

If, for example, your organisation is in IT and/or telecommunications, will it be important for it to have a culture of innovation and adaptability or would it be more likely to achieve success if it is conservative and resistant to change? Hopefully, the answer is obvious. This is a critical discussion for the board to have with their CEO and leadership team with a view to reaching a consensus on what is the most appropriate culture for great success and for their strategy and main goals to be achieved.

Values drive culture

Culture is often defined as “the way we do things around here”. Culture is formed and shaped by the behaviours and focus of the CEO and leadership team, what the organisation rewards and recognises and its explicit values. The values will be a significant driver of culture if they are modelled by the CEO and leadership team and become truly embedded into the organisation’s culture, messaging and DNA including into its performance and recognition systems.

Because values are so critical to an organisation’s culture, it’s essential that boards and CEOs are very deliberate about defining the values they believe are critical for great success, and for the strategy and main goals to be achieved.

Boards and CEOs need to consider the type of culture that would be formed if the chosen values are embedded. Is that culture the most appropriate one for achieving success and is it likely to be achieved by embedding those values?

Think for example whether the following values would help or inhibit the creation of the most appropriate culture for your organisation:

  • accountability
  • agility
  • celebration
  • compassion
  • courage
  • integrity
  • loyalty
  • perseverance
  • professionalism
  • resilience
  • simplicity
  • sustainability
  • teamwork, and
  • transformation.

When selecting your values you should also ensure that:

  • where possible, the values will be relevant both internally and externally; and
  • there is an appropriate balance between the values that will form and shape the character and reputation of the organisation and those that will drive the productivity and performance of the organisation.

Engaging employees

Some boards, CEOs and leadership teams determine the values that they believe are most appropriate and simply announce them to their staff. They may also advise that they require those values to be upheld. Taking this approach is not likely to result in buy-in from employees. At best employees will become reluctantly compliant of the values announced.

If you want your employees to be enthusiastic supporters of your chosen values, you should engage your employees in the process of determining what values are absolutely essential for your organisation to achieve great success. This is not a difficult process but does take extra time and effort to achieve. The investment of the extra time, effort and cost will be one of the best investments you ever make.

To find out more about how to develop, communicate and embed the most appropriate values in to your organisation’s culture and DNA to achieve great success, please contact Insync or read our Executive Chairman, Nicholas Barnett’s book titled, GPS for your Organisation: how to energise your employees and build sustainable high performance.


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