How to make sure your company’s actions align with its culture

Click on any business news feed and questions like “How Strong is  Your Company Culture” or “How to Create a Winning Company Culture” will pop up.

But there’s one key piece of advice that’s missing from the conversation, says Dan Wolf, president of Dewar Sloan and author of  Strategic Teams and Development: The FieldBook for People Making Strategy Happen:

All too often, companies and their leaders talk the culture talk without walking the walk. And because an organization’s cultural agenda is essentially a foundation and starting point for its strategic agenda, any disconnect here can become a significant problem.

 This becomes more likely as companies grow and evolve, and can result in messes such as the crisis of lawsuits against Bayer after it purchased Montanto.  GE, P&G, Boeing, Dow and DuPont provide other interesting examples.

To make sure culture continues to inform and align with everyday thought and behavior — especially as companies grow and evolve — Dan recommends consistently using these 4 checkpoints to evaluate your organization’s actions and decisions at every level, each step of the way:

  • Taking care of customers
    Does this decision support our values and culture around how we care for our customers and their needs?
  • Economic performance
    Will this decision contribute to our profit and sustenance?
  • Competitive advantage
    Does this decision help us maintain our competitive advantage and differentiate ourselves meaningfully from the competition?
  • Corporate stewardship

Is this decision in line with our business ethics and values of integrity and service?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no” it’s time to stop and rethink before taking action.