A key to success: Creating a culture of purpose
Today’s companies are striving to get the highest results with the least amount of effort. They strive to gain profit in a simple translation, with minimum expenses. But many enterprises forget one important aspect that differentiate companies which have strong financial performance from the ones which don’t: a strong organizational culture. Yes, having high quality low cost products, processes put in place, engaged and skilled employees is important, but these are outcomes of having a culture of performance.
A 2014 survey, published by Deloitte, states that 91% of respondents who said their company has a strong sense of purpose also said their company has a history of strong financial performance. But the main problem which is stated in the report is that 68% of employees and 66% of executives believed that their business was not doing enough to develop a culture of purpose.
Nowadays, purpose has become a buzzword, so if we are discussing about it, we must understand the term first. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, purpose means why one does something or why something exists. In today’s business environment, having a culture of purpose, means that the company creates value for all stakeholders, especially employees, which are the primary resource of the company.
Building a culture of purpose starts from the vision of the organization, from the mission and values, and having the right tool in place to align and communicate them. The Desired State of Evolution is such a tool which is used to integrate all strategic statements of an organization. It can be customized and used both at the organizational and departmental level. Departments and teams are able of developing their own version, based on the one adopted within their organization. Thus, they can benefit from bringing an additional level of clarity and specificity to their own working environment.
Below, we have listed a few advantages of using this tool:
- Helps clarify the company’s desired destination;
- Contributes to identifying the key capabilities of the company, value drivers and competences;
- Indicates the manner in which the vision can be achieved.
There are also some challenges in using the Desired state of Evolution:
- Lining up the DSE with the company’s strategy;
- Aligning the DSEs across the company (the organizational with the departmental ones);
- Designing an efficient and relevant visual representation of the Desired State of Evolution.
After having developed the Desired State of Evolution, there are a few steps which might raise awareness and ease the process of communicating the strategy:
- Engage the company’s employees. This will happen when they understand what is expected of them, as well as when they have the right tools and knowledge to complete the job.
- Stimulate employees, via gamification.
- Train the top management team so they have the right competencies and know how to use the right instruments, in order to pass down their knowledge.
- Reward employees in order for them to become models for others. The rewards don’t necessarily have to be financial.
- Energize by repeating this cycle.
In conclusion having a clear vision (where you want the organization to be), mission (what is the purpose of the organization), value statements (the beliefs that influence behaviors) and value drivers (the characteristics of the company’s activities that reflect how it generates value for its stakeholders) and communicating them across all level of the company will result in creating a culture of performance.
- Lueneburger, C. (2014), A Company’s Good Deeds Can Energize Employees
- Rogers, B. (2013), ‘Culture of purpose’ is key to success according to new research from Deloitte
- Tarata, C. (2014), How can you build a performance culture?
- The KPI Institute (n.d.), Desired State of Evolution