Like people and snowflakes, no two organizations are the same. The differences between companies can be as overt as size, location and industry, and as subtle as the tacit assumptions that govern how employees treat each other and their customers. The latter, intangible factors form the basis of organizational culture.
Imagine your company is a tree. The roots symbolize the dynamic network of your leadership, teams, individual employees, systems and processes that shape how people interact and how the work gets done. As the tree grows, its limbs and branches represent your company’s customer, partner and stakeholder touch points; your brand, products or services, sales, marketing and other external extensions in the world.
Springing from your unique mission, the organizational culture is the trunk that connects the root system with the branches and is integral to the structure and stability of the tree. The deeper the roots, the stronger the trunk, the more vigorously the limbs flourish, and the greater the tree’s potential to withstand any unexpected storms.
Organizational culture is represented primarily by any expectations that are shared by all members of your organization, from executives to entry-level staff. Whether articulated or not, each organization has an implied code of acceptable behavior, driven by its distinct, underlying core values and beliefs. Your culture powerfully guides the boundaries of both internal and external dynamics, including:
Some form of corporate culture has always existed by default since the origins of business. But it is only in recent years that awareness has grown and systems developed to define and deliberately design a particular, desired culture.
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