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Essay: Company performance and culture

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  • Published: 17 September 2015*
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The majority of organizations that have achieved peak performance have all utilized five common yet basic principles with regards to culture. The first principle is appropriately matching a specific corporate culture to a specific corporate strategy or strategies. Those managing the change and transformation should make certain that the utilized change procedures and organization culture are in harmony with one another. In fact all elements should be in alignment. It is essential that the involved leaders, employees and culture be in sync for transformational success. Once the change process has commenced, the original state of the organization should not exist in any shape or form. In the case there are still residual old habits showing themselves, management could correct this immediately as that will presumably curtail the progress of the ongoing change. (Cummings and Worley, 2008).
Going forward, all labors should be geared toward the sought after results. The organization should focus on attributes like cooperation and collaboration to ensure efficiency and success. Mismatching culture to strategy will be a waste of time, resources and energy for everyone involved.
This notion can be summed up by the statement made by Tyler Elms ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast, every day’ (2012). Good strategy is important but it is ultimately useless if a business does not have the means to implement it. The means here is organizational culture. Both strategy and culture must be agreeable with one another for absolute guarantee of victory. (Elm and Harris, 2012).
The second principle is to select and then promote specific critical shifts in employee performance for overall company advantage. Tyler Elms and Jim Harris state in their article post that ‘the value of a strategy is not what is written on the whiteboard or the back of napkin, it is the value unleashed by engaging the minds and hearts of motivated employees and suppliers’ (2012). This statement wholly signifies how deeply strategy relies on the foundation of culture within an organization. Greatly promoting specific exemplary characteristics will assuredly prove as an effective way to encourage employees to embody those same characteristics. When leadership give a hard push for key principles and then exemplify those principles themselves then employees have two decisions to make. They can either adapt under the new culture or choose not. (Cummings and Worley, 2008).
Choosing not to adapt is not very likely given that human generally respond to social collectivism and feel comfort in acclimating to their surroundings. There is also the potential for being reprimanded by management for not adapting along with fellow employees. Companion employees may also show hostility towards non adopters if the change in culture is for the benefit of the organization as a whole. Management should already have a good idea of whom these problematic employees would be based on past performance in the company. Those employees should be targeted more intensely than the majority to ensure their willing participation as well. One hundred percent involvement is necessary for an effective change to come to pass. The proficiency of most organizational change issues is principally reliant on the degree of support either in favor of or not in favor of the issues themselves. Culture is the strongest tool for employee support. (Cummings and Worley, 2008).
The third principle is to uphold and maintain the strengths of the current company culture in place. While culture does undermine strategy and it is necessary for the strategy to be in line with the culture, that does not mean efforts cannot be made to alter the culture. Organizational leaders should be adjusting both culture and strategy simultaneously to find the perfect, or best, means for overall company advantage. That being said, there are most probably positive and efficient aspects of most company cultures. The whole reason to organize some type of culture is for employee morale and productivity. It is important that leaders of change uphold and maintain those current strengths since change is already very difficult. The fewer characteristics of a company that need to be changed the better for everyone going forward in the transformation. (Cummings and Worley, 2008).
Both employees and leaders alike will feel less overwhelmed by the change in progress if only the weaknesses are tackled rather than the culture as a whole. A method for determining cultural strengths and weaknesses can be through the means of surveys and or interviews with both leadership and the employees. Conclusions about the culture can be derived from the analyzed information collected from the surveys and interviews. Sutter Connect, an organization in health care ‘moved from using the culture survey to identify areas they need to fix, to using the survey as a barometer of overall organizational health of the organization’ (Buback and Wirth, 2009). Whether the weakness lies in the corporate mission, leadership style or even the general motivation of employees, the weakness should be identified and isolated for quick resolution. (Cummings and Worley, 2008).
The fourth principle is for enterprises to be able to successfully facilitate both formal and informal interventions to transform an organization depending on the circumstances. In the textbook, Cummings and Worley state that ‘Effective interventions are based on valid information about the organization’s functioning; they provide organization members with opportunities to make free and informed choices; and they gain members’ internal commitment to those choices’ (2008). When leadership completes surveys and or interviews testing the organizations’ strengths and weakness, the data is analyzed for accuracy and relevance. Information that is deemed accurate is one of the necessary components for an effective intervention. (Cummings and Worley, 2008).
The second component is that the leaders and employees are actively involved the transformational changes by their own choosing. Should any member decide not to contribute or partake in the decision making there is no apprehension of any negative repercussions. Interventions are different from general organization development where there are potential ramifications for those that do not participate. It must be noted that interventions although they seem similar are not the same as strategies. Interventions are ‘Simple activities with limited end objectives (Taylor, n.d.). Strategies are complex and generally continue in use and change as a business model changes. Often times the two are considered synonymous in nature which will curtail the full potential for success in terms of results. (Cummings and Worley, 2008)
The fifth principle is to monitor and analyze a culture’s development during any and all periods of time. At each individual stage leadership needs to evaluate the progress of the ongoing activity. They should be determining how much culture change has occurred at each phase as well as how much of the old residual culture is still present. Based on their findings, management can measure the progress that has been made if any progress at all. Depending on the level of change management can make the proper decisions to improve the level of change. If the findings show a decline of progress or no progress at all then management should respond accordingly. If the company is improving then no alteration needs to be made. (Cummings and Worley, 2008).
Tactics discussed in other principles can be used while monitoring and analyzing the culture’s development during the various periods. Assessing strengths and weaknesses, implementing formal or informal interventions and keeping the organization’s culture in line with its process for change are all devices. A large focus should remain on the emotions and wellbeing of the leadership and employees as that is the foundation for corporate culture. Each of the above five mentioned principles are necessary for an organization to achieve peak performance in its respective industry. (Cummings and Worley, 2008).

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