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Where does the corporate culture come from?

Some CEO’s believe they can define the corporate culture of their company – we argue that they can’t. The reason for this is that corporate culture – like any other type of culture is a product of behaviors, norms, values, history and leadership style. If you want to develop a certain corporate culture it doesn’t help you write it down in a powerpoint presentation – you have to live it out.

Just look at your family. The culture you have in your family isn’t written down – it is something you learn to fit into as a child by looking at the other family members and other families. It is no different from organizations.

If you have to write down your culture it usually means you don’t have it. KLM has a slogan for the time being: “KLM – The reliable airline”. An airline is only reliable if you as a passenger has experienced them as reliable. In that case, there is no need to write it down. On the other hand, you have experienced the airline as unreliable the slogan will only contribute to building untrustworthiness.

The Corporate Culture is extremely important
You can’t define it and you can’t change it overnight, but it is extremely important for your company. It is the corporate culture that prevents your people from leaving the company on a rainy day. It is the corporate culture, which is the foundation for the service you give to your clients and by that the customer loyalty and profitability. If your people are proud of working with the company they express trustworthiness and authenticity which has a positive influence on both customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction.

Obvious you might say, but then please explain to me why so many companies don’t get it right. It is not only about financials. You are profitable if your clients are happy, and they are happy if our employees are happy and they are happy if there is general accordance between what you say and what you do as a manager.

How do you develop the corporate culture?
And sometimes it might be a good idea having someone from outside to draw the cultural baseline based on the customers- and the employees’ perception of the company. You will most like become aware of core competencies and values you didn’t’ know you had.

When we have helped our client determining the corporate culture baseline, we have an excellent starting point for a change process.

We change the corporate culture in a company by implementing changes to the leadership style, communication strategy, appraisal systems and by assessing the cultural friction within the organization. We measure the results on customer- and employee retention.

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