There’s a lot of talk about organizational culture and its creation. We tout companies that have successfully established cultures of success. At the same time, the headlines are constantly full of companies with toxic cultures and the consequences of those environments. It’s easy to see that culture is a vital part of leadership. The real question is, how do you create culture? There isn’t a “one size fits all method,” but here are some things to keep in mind as you work to define, or change, your organizational culture.

What is Your Culture Now?

Whether you have deliberately established one or not, you have an organizational culture. The truth is that every single person in your organization, every action, and every word contributes directly to your culture. Take a moment and think about what your organization’s day-to-day operations say about it. Are you trustworthy? Serious? Imaginative? Be honest with yourself and don’t be afraid to ask members of the organization. They may have insights you are blind to and those will help you in the long run.

What Does Your Organization Stand For?

Once you know where you are, you can take the time to decide where you want to be. Even if you are currently embodying these things, take the time to really decide what you want your organization to stand for. What are your core values? What is your mission? What are you passionate about? How can you get to where you want to be if you don’t know for certain where that is?

Have You Written It Down?

You probably wrote a lot of this down when you were thinking and brainstorming, but have you written it down in a way your team members can see? It seems like something so trivial. It isn’t. Consider the military, for example. The core values of the branches of our Armed Forces are prominently displayed. Their missions, creeds, and mottos can be recited at the drop of a hat. Part of that is drilling the information into them. The other part is those brave men and women buying into that culture.

Do You Embody It?

One of the most important aspects of a leader is embodying the culture and values they want in their organization. If the people in your company see you working, in early and out late, then they are more likely to work hard. On the other hand, if you are cutting out early, showing up late, and never really seen on the job, then you are probably going to have some work problems. Think about the culture you want and decide if you embody it. If you don’t, today’s the day to start.

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