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Culture is a Powerful Force

The work of leaders and teams is undeniably challenging as they focus on solving crucial customer problems that deliver value to both the customer and the business.

Amidst the journey, there are unexpected hurdles, failures, and detours as they learn to gather evidence and data to find the fastest path to value with the customer.

If that isn't challenging enough, the self-inflicted roadblocks due to an absent, weak, or toxic organizational culture are the biggest barrier that prevents leaders and teams from making significant progress toward desired outcomes.

Daniel Coyle, the author of the Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups, states, "Culture is a set of living relationships working toward a shared goal. It's not something you are. It's something you do."

Look at successful companies. They all have in common a culture that values collaboration, innovation, a sense of purpose, high standards and expectations, connection, safety, and belonging.

Everyone knows their roles and responsibilities, what they are there to do, and why. Leaders and teams understand how their work connects to the broader organizational vision and strategy. They are clear on their goals and desired outcomes.

They know the organization supports them. Failure is framed as learning because that's how they'll foster innovation. Leaders and teams see a future together and focus on doing their collective part to help the organization grow.

When things don't go according to plan, which they will, or the company faces a tough loss or setback, it's their connection, open dialog, transparency, and feedback that allows them to rally and rise to the challenge because of the shared belief they can.

Building and sustaining a strong culture requires deliberate effort, unwavering commitment, and a willingness to confront uncomfortable truths. Absent, weak, or toxic cultures can derail even the most well-intentioned endeavors, stifling creativity and eroding morale.

Take a hard look at your culture. It's a powerful force that fuels growth and innovation, overshadowing even the most meticulously crafted strategies.

Written by: Pam Krengel