It takes time to change an organisation's culture. The complexities of human interactions, the need for alignment with strategic goals and resistance to change can all contribute to the challenges of shaping and sustaining organisational culture. Katie Nightingale explains why culture is key in organisational success – and crucial in meeting your Agility, Resilience and Cost (ARC) target.

Understanding your culture and how it supports your strategy and people experience is key when achieving your ARC targets. For example, business leaders can plan, act and ‘pull’ on certain levers that will help achieve cost base aspirations while knowing their culture will provide the ‘supporting foundations’ for their people operating in an agile and resilient manner. In an ever-competitive labour market ensuring you understand your culture, can adapt to changing needs, and effectively take your people on the journey, is critical.


Culture is a key enabler of organisational success

Organisational culture shapes the DNA of a company, influencing how employees interact, make decisions, and ultimately work towards common goals. A strong, positive culture fosters employee engagement, motivation, and a sense of belonging, leading to higher productivity and innovation. Achieving this provides a framework for aligning individuals' values with the organisation's mission and values, creating a sense of purpose that transcends mere job tasks. A healthy culture also promotes effective communication, collaboration, and adaptability, essential traits in today's rapidly changing business landscape. It will help you attract and retain top talent, as people are often drawn to organisations where they feel a cultural fit. In essence, organisational culture will serve you as a guiding light, making it a fundamental driver of long-term success and sustainability.


Align your culture to your organisation

Aligning your culture begins with a clear understanding of your organisation's mission, values, and long-term goals. First, you need to define the desired culture that complements your business objectives – whether it's a culture that emphasises innovation, customer-centricity, collaboration, or any other core principle. Next, you should involve employees at all levels in the cultural transformation process, encouraging their input and buy-in to ensure a shared vision. Leaders play a pivotal role in shaping and nurturing the culture of their organisation. They serve as the guiding light that sets the tone, values, and norms within the workplace. Through their actions, decisions, and behaviours, leaders send powerful signals to employees about what is expected and accepted. Effective leaders not only articulate the company's mission and values but also embody them in their day-to-day interactions.


The importance of leadership in long-term success

By fostering an inclusive, transparent, and respectful environment, leaders can inspire trust and collaboration among their teams, influencing employee morale, productivity, and engagement. Additionally, leaders are responsible for addressing issues, resolving conflicts, and promoting a culture of accountability and continuous improvement.

A leader's commitment to cultivating a positive and cohesive organisational culture is instrumental in shaping long-term success. You need to ensure that your leaders regularly assess and measure the progress of cultural alignment (even if there is no apparent ‘need’) and make adjustments as required. An open and transparent communication channel also helps in reinforcing the culture and gathering feedback for improvements. Be open and be honest. A well-aligned organisational culture not only enhances employee satisfaction but also contributes significantly to achieving business success and sustainability – a top priority for many senior leaders and especially when it comes to achieving your ARC target.


Take people on the journey

Employees are the heart and soul of any organisation. Their role in shaping and upholding the right organisational culture cannot be overstated. They are the custodians of your organisation’s values, behaviours, and attitudes that define its culture, and their collective actions determine whether a desired culture thrives or falters.

Employee commitment to their organisation's mission and values fosters a sense of unity and purpose that permeates the workplace. It is no surprise that a more engaged and satisfied workforce are more likely to embody the desired culture, helping you when it comes to activities like attracting and retaining like-minded talent. Employees are the cultural ambassadors who breathe life into an organisation's ethos. This makes them indispensable in achieving and maintaining the right organisational culture, which in turn plays a vital role in the overall success and sustainability of the business.

It is key that you take people on the journey to changing, sustaining, or embedding your organisational culture. Clear communications, equipped champions/advocates, and an aligned leadership team will help in ensuring that your people understand the present, the future and everything in between.


How to bake your ARC target into your culture

Ensure culture is top of the agenda

Prioritising culture on the business agenda is essential for achieving sustained success and crucial in ensuring you meet your ARC targets.

Set the vision for your culture to enable your ARC target

Define your cultural vision based on what you need to achieve in your strategy and ARC target. Align your leaders with the vision so they become advocates and understand their role in working towards reaching your vision for culture.

Understand where you are now

It is difficult to define the scale of the journey you need to go on before understanding your current culture. Learn how your people and leaders view your current organisational culture. How different is that compared to where you are going (your vision?)

Communicate and engage with your people

Taking your people on the journey is critical in achieving long-term, sustained cultural change, helping you reach your ARC target. Regular communications that your people can connect to, specifically the ‘what’s in it for me’ will support any required change.


For more information or to discuss your cultural ambitions in more detail, please contact Katie Nightingale or Justin Rix.

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