Business organizations that have succeeded and performed superbly in both turbulent and calm business environments pay much attention to both cultural values and business performance. Studies have revealed that good cultural values energize and motivate employees by especially appealing to higher ideals and unifying employees through the shared goals. By paying attention to organizational culture, managers discover new ways and strategies through which cultural values can nurture or hurt department’s or organization’s performance at large. Organizational culture widely varies across different organizations, but firms within the same industry tend to have similar cultural practices. This paper defines organizational culture and describes what focusing on performance means. Consequently, the paper explains how a business can advance its achievement by adopting the five steps for shaping high-performance culture. Guru Computer Associates will be used as the target company.
Organizational culture also called corporate culture is an organization of collective values, actions as well as beliefs which develops in a business organization and it directs the actions of its members. The collection of values as well norms which are shared by people or group of people within an organization and controls the manner they relate with each other and stakeholders who are not in the organization (Rosenthal & Maserech, 2003). This culture defines the beliefs and ideas with regard to goals and targets that members of an organization should pursue and ideas about appropriate general behavior organizational members should employ in order to achieve the stated goals.
An organizational culture is key and fundamental in addressing two major survival issues; that is, external adaptation and internal integration of the organization. Studies have revealed that a strong corporate culture without adapting to the external environment cannot ensure business success. Managers using adaptive corporate culture are keen and concerned about customers, internal people (employees) and processes that bring about positive change. In essence, adaptive organizational culture helps businesses adapt to the environment within which it operates (Rosenthal & Maserech, 2003).
Strong organizational culture also referred to as high-performance culture, is a culture based on a strong organizational mission or purpose that embrace the use of shared adaptive values to guide organization decisions and business practices that are aimed at encouraging individual employee ownership of both bottom line results and organization’s cultural backbone. High-performance culture helps in aligning the company towards achieving its objectives, increases loyalty and motivation levels of employees, improves team cohesiveness among various department and divisions within the company, promotes consistency while encouraging coordination and control within the organization (Collins & Porras, 2005). In addition, it shapes employee behavior at work thus, enabling the efficiency within the organization. Managers emphasize on value and business results to come up with high-performance culture in order to enable the company achieve high-business performance.
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Cultures within organizations at times go unnoticed by employees. High-performance culture is the total of organization’s behavior and its practices. When present, it reveals itself through small and big decisions made as well as the daily practices, for instance, the way things are done within the organization (Collins & Porras, 2005).
Guru Computer Associates (GCA) is a global software enterprise with 16,000 employees. The company started over the past two years with $500 million in assets. Last year the company registered net returns of $50 million and it is determined to continue with high profitability. This organization falls in the 3rd quadrant because its managers are fundamentally focused on bottom-line results while paying less attention to organizational values. They have also managed to gain high profits within a very short time; managing and sustaining this success in the long run will be a problem because they do not have strong cultural values that can hold the organization together (Kotter & Heskett, 2007). High-performance culture can be developed within an organization by following the five main steps, that is, clarifying and defining the organization’s mission and value and the starting point, communicating and translating the mission and values, model the values, aligning of business practices, and engaging the employees (Rosenthal & Maserech, 2003).
Guru Computer Associates will only maintain a sustainable growth and profitability by developing a high-performance culture that will help hold the company together. The company needs to define a clear and compelling corporate mission that informs business decisions, generate customer loyalty, and ignite employee passion while inspiring discretionary efforts. Clarifying its mission and values and defining the starting point is crucial and vital to determine the whole functionality of the firm. The top management needs to evaluate inwardly and define the organizations guiding principles that are authentic to Guru Computer Associates. For instance, a cross-functional core values team should be established to ensure a broad representation. This can be achieved by soliciting input from employees and managers through focus groups and online employee surveys.
After the mission and values have been published, Guru Computer Associate’s top management should communicate these values to employees. Posting the mission statement and core values on the bulletin board and hand out laminated cards will not comprehensively instill the high-performance culture needed. Communication is a very fundamental step for any organization initiating their culture and is also an indispensable tool for strengthening and sustaining the initiated culture (Kotter & Heskett, 2007). The management should encourage a two-way dialogue. Managers should be trained on guidelines, not only on how to engage employees in the business rationale for core values, but also encourage them to think through what the values mean to them personally. Abstract concepts should also be translated into tangible examples. It has been found out that for employees to align their behavior and decisions with company’s core values; they need to do more than just reciting the value’s statements (Kotter & Heskett, 2007). Guru Computer Associates need to make their employees understand, see, and feel the meaning of the stated values.
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Modeling values are the next step that Guru Computer Associate should initiate. As they say, action speaks louder than words. The set values need to be lived. Top leadership at Guru Computer Associates should visibly demonstrate the espoused values. Without this, employees will resent them. The top management should spearhead the values-driven culture for them to stand out as walking their talk (Kouzes & Posner, 2009). This will then trickle to the middle managers (supervisors) then to all employees. It has been established that top managers who live the values, promote and reward desired behavior.
Guru Computer Associates should now engage the employees to adapt the mission and values that have been established. Inspiring leaders should be used to communicate relentlessly and visibly model the organization’s espoused values. They should inspire employees so that they can own the firm’s business culture. They will achieve this vital goal by encouraging innovation and change, building loyal teams, and demonstrating credibility that is associated with people’s skills. Shared organizational values will guide employee’s behavior and influence business practices as it delivers on its promise to customers, employees and other stakeholders (Kouzes & Posner, 2009).
After successfully engaging employees, the management should now monitor results while reinforcing ownership. Guru Computer Associates can use employee surveys to be in touch with what is working and what not (Kotter & Heskett, 2007) is. An environment that encourages individual employee ownership of both organization’s bottom-line results and its cultural foundation always succeeds in it business ventures.
In a nutshell, value driven culture contributes greatly to business performance by attracting and retaining star performers who not only have skills to achieve business goals but also upholds core company values. They also encourage high employee decision making, provide fixed point of reference and stability during crisis periods, it creates more personal connection between employees and the organization and it aligns employees with diverse interest around sharing goals to create a sense community encouraging team work. In essence, high-performance culture is key to company’s success.