Most leaders have heard the expression, “You need to drive your culture or it will drive your business—for better or worse.” In reality, putting these words into action to achieve real cultural change with sustainable, measurable results is a long-term journey. The payoff is huge. With vision, focus, and investment in the right culture experts, diagnostics, and change processes, a Constructive culture can drive significant business performance.
Norway’s Winter Olympic success is extraordinary. Not only were they the runaway winner in the 2018 Winter Olympics medals race (final tally 39 medals to second place Germany’s 31), but historically they have outpaced every other country in Winter Olympic competition. Over the span of 90 years, they captured 329 medals to second place US at 282.1 And their population is less than the average of a single US state.
When it comes to shaping a thriving workplace culture, the influence of leaders on their organizations’ overall performance cannot be overemphasized. They serve as role models whose conduct and behavior are expected to align with their organizations’ values. While recent months have provided a deluge of executives and leaders who have lost their way, it’s a compelling time for change agents to help organizations shape their culture for a constructive future.1
We are experiencing a historic shift in how people view the importance of culture and culture change. As a result, most CEOs and other top leaders will be expected to understand and deal with culture challenges proactively, or they will be considered both financially and morally negligent. Yes, financially and morally negligent. We are seeing top leaders held accountable for their own behavior and for unacceptable behavior deep in their organizations at a level we have never witnessed before. This is driven by a much greater culture shift in society—and it is long overdue.
At the recent Ultimate Culture Conference hosted by Human Synergistics, Trent Sunde of The Clorox Company gave a great presentation entitled, Going Beyond High Performance to Enable a Growth Culture. For me, the final takeaway from this case study is that for organizations to achieve exponential growth, they need to have leaders who coach. Yes, we still need managers to manage, but to move an organization forward and to achieve rapid momentum toward phenomenal growth, we need the entire workforce engaged. One leader cannot achieve this kind of success alone. It takes leadership at all levels and throughout the organization.