Culture is the Competitive Advantage
With all the demands we face in our business, the volatility of the economy, and the drive to do more with less, how do you stand out in the crowd?
Culture is the competitive advantage.
To be successful, companies must be innovative, keep costs in line, please their customers/consumers, all while making a profit. This is where a company's culture can make the difference.
Every organization possesses a culture – the shared values and practices of the workforce.
It is the intangible that we tend to let just develop and not work on. It is created through people's behaviors, beliefs, attitudes, and conversations. Culture guides how a company operates on all levels, and it directly impacts overall performance. For this reason, we have to work on creating a great culture in order to succeed.
So… how do you begin to tackle the complex idea of culture to make your company stand out?
First, figure out your company's current culture. Talk to your people, issue an engagement survey, get out on the floor and observe. This will get you started on the lengthy process of understanding and developing culture. Through an engagement survey, you will be able to ask associates specific questions about your company to see where you stand.
Now, you have to decide what you want your culture to become. Make sure that your company's goals, mission, and vision are aligned with this culture.
Once you have this information, the hard part begins. Develop an action plan to shift to the new culture. You will need everyone on board. They must understand what you are trying to do and see the end goal.
Leadership must be committed. Every leader must show verbal and behavioral support so your people can see the importance of the task at hand.
Associates need to know what is expected of them, and they must know how to accomplish these expectations. Training will help to define this and to teach new thought processes and behaviors. This will aid in successful completion. Training can be done through an outside service or in house depending on resources.
Culture is always developing and changing, and creating a great culture is an on-going process. It will not happen overnight. It must be talked about in order for it to stay alive. Continue the survey over time to make sure that your efforts are successful. Act in ways that represent the culture you are striving for, and people will talk about it. Seek out people who are doing worthy things that represent the culture you are striving for and praise them; tell stories about them.
When a company has a strong, aligned culture, every aspect of the business improves. This is the competitive advantage needed in order to stand out in the supply chain industry.
What stories would your associates tell about your company culture?