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Want to understand and shape your organization’s culture?

Tom Sullivan

December 16, 2014
Tom Sullivan

Business owners or leaders of any organization know the importance of building a strong culture to drive performance. Many of us have gone through the exercises to better understand or shape our mission, vision and values. We have developed policies, processes, tools and customs to foster team building and collaborative problem solving. But anything written in plans, presented in PowerPoints, or framed on walls is only a snapshot, a moment of time to memorialize a vision of how the organization’s people should function, act and create value together. That snapshot is often deceptive because culture is a dynamic, human process that can evolve quickly and forge new directions that may or may not be desirable.

So how do you get a pulse on the culture and get a sense if it’s growing in the most positive ways to support the organization’s goals? How can you make sure personal agendas and power struggles don’t get in the way of meeting primary customer needs?

Small businesses like ours have an advantage in assessing the state of our culture. We can just look around, walk around and interact regularly with the people who make up the organization. But large organizations can also benefit by ensuring that leaders are regularly present with the people who make it happen on the front lines. That’s how Sam Walton built the largest company in the world with over 2 million employees. It was more than a value proposition of everyday low prices. He believed his associates should provide a great customer experience and that his vendors should be partners in creating value. He spent a majority of his time meeting his people where they lived and worked. And, he empowered his people to experiment and innovate while delivering on the core values.

The mission of Princeton Partners is to create positive change and lasting value for organizations that are making a positive difference in peoples’ lives. Yes, we do that through marketing and innovation but it’s our people who are called to be creative and smart risk takers. One way we foster those skills, is by empowering our associates to shape our work environment and the ways we work together. Our space is a community canvas and our work processes and customs foster collaboration, creativity, fun and risk-taking. I encourage you to “take a walk” through our shop to see if you can discern our organization’s culture.