I just read a piece that pointed me to the supposedly "most admired corporate cultures" among Canadian organizations for 2008. This is apparently the result of a survey conducted by Waterstone Human Capital, essentially a recruitment firm.
What is corporate culture? Survey says, "Leadership behaviours, Employee behaviours, Leadership attitudes, Employee attitudes, Organizational values, Work environment, Organization mission/vision," among others. Notice the question wasn't, "what contributes to culture," but rather, "What is culture?" Okay, so I'm being nit-picky. And, only selecting responses that scored more than 50% (more than one choice could be offered).
How would you describe your culture? Survey says, "Performance driven, Customer focused," and then down the line, "team focused" and some others.
What has led to the creation of your current corporate culture? "Leadership." Period.
Three most important factors in managing the culture? "Alignment of culture to business strategy. Leadership development." No other scored more than 50%, even though respondents were asked to select three.
What specific tools to you use to "align your employees" (yes, that's a quote) to your culture? "Leadership practices, posting the values (like, on the wall), training, and 'town hall meetings'."
Does culture have an impact on your performance? 83% said "strong" or "very strong" impact.
Can a new leader change the culture? "Yes" (90% of respondents). This one is not surprising to me, but troubling to some extent. In my book, culture should not be as ephemeral as the corporate life expectancy of a leader.
Do you have a process for integrating new leaders into your corporate culture? 55% said no. This one is a surprising result, given the previous two questions.
There were a bunch more questions of various sorts. But it seems clear from this survey that leadership is critical to culture, and culture is tied to business results, and (to cheekily paraphrase the introduction to the Book of John) culture is business results. In other words, culture is all about the leaders, leadership, and results.
Oh, the kicker question for me? What is your occupation? 80% of 340 respondents are Director, Vice President, President or CEO - in other words, leaders! Quelle surprise!
I wonder what the results might look like if they happened to ask workers. Or even Edgar Schein.
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