There has been much discussion about corporate culture eating strategy for lunch (or breakfast or dinner) and Greg Smith’s public resignation from Goldman Sach’s in the New York Times further highlights the issues that can result from a shift in core values. Corporate cultures often come about organically with little planning and core values are only “defined” as a part of a marketing exercise. While this may be fine if the culture is a positive one, when there is a disconnect between advertised values and the real ones, or if your culture shifts downward you risk your brand being perceived as inauthentic.
And who wants to do business with someone they perceive is deceiving them?
To help you ensure that your stated values are authentic, consider the following:
- As a company, what are your core values?
- Do you know where this list of values comes from?
- Are these being imposed from the top-down?
- Does everyone in the organization feel these values are accurate?
- What about your customers and partners?
- Are there differences in certain groups? In certain geographical regions?
- How well do these values reflect the values of your people?
- How do your core values shape your corporate vision, mission, strategy and goals?
Rather than cultures emerging by happenstance, consider making your corporate culture a cornerstone of your strategy and brand. And then defend it vigorously.