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 Corporate Culture

Have You Overlooked Your Corporate Culture? 

Your company has a critical aspect that could help it succeed extraordinarily or fail miserably — corporate culture. Your company may have the best developed mission, vision, goals and strategy, and yet it may fail without the right matching culture. Culture is a crucial part of the engine of your company. Without the right culture your organization will not move at the speed you need and want.

What is corporate culture?

Culture is the culmination of how everyone in the organization from management to front-line employees behave and think. Culture reflects the combination of conduct and mindset.

"You cannot develop culture by edict.
A memo from the CEO does not establish the culture."

Types of Cultures

Companies have many different types of culture. Some companies are laidback and slow to change, while others are hyperactive and ready to move at the slightest change in the marketplace. Some companies have a fun culture, others a more serious culture. Look at the culture in startup companies, it is quite different than companies that have been around for a hundred years.

Cultural differences exists in other ways too. Some companies are sales-driven, they are experts at deal making and thrive on it. Others are operationally driven, with sales competencies and processes taking a back seat. In some companies, various business units compete against each other for financial and human resources, while at other companies, business units work closely together to create a seamless entity. In some companies excessive office politics is part of the culture.  

Lack of a Conscious Culture

Every company has a culture — either it is explicit or implicit. Most often companies develop a certain type of culture without conscious design. Companies focus on developing their mission, vision, goals and strategies, but rarely do they stop and think about the culture they want to cultivate. You as a leader, must realize the importance of cultivating the right culture, and then help your organization cultivate it.


Cultural Challenge

Failure to change employee mindsets and set ways engrained by organizational culture is often the reason why so many mergers and acquisitions fail. It is also the reason, many new CEOs fail to succeed. Cultural disconnect is a recipe for disaster.

Developing Culture

You cannot develop culture by edict. A memo from the CEO does not establish the culture. How do you change the behavior and mindset of people, and change it in such a manner that behaviors do not revert back. I hope you can appreciate, developing the right culture is a huge challenge.
Culture is driven by the tone set at the top. The organization watches carefully and takes its cues from how the leaders of the organization think and act. Therefore leaders have to be mindful. If you have raised children, then you know, kids do not do what parents ask them to do, kids do what they see their parents do.

Which is the right culture?

The right culture for your company depends on your mission, core management philosophies, vision and strategies. If your core business model is product leadership, then your culture has to encourage and celebrate innovation. If your new vision is hyper-growth, then your culture has to change to encourage risk taking in new products and markets. You cannot achieve a new hyper-growth vision without asking the organization to change its thinking... change its mindset.

Conscious Culture

As a leader, you need to take the time to understand and crystallize the right culture for your organization that is in-sync with its mission, business model, vision and strategies. Then you need to lead by example, changing your behavior and mindset to reflect the desired culture. And, you need to follow-through to ensure your management team and employees imbibe the new culture.


Ravi Kathuria
Is a recognized business thought leader. Quoted in various publications including the Wall Street Journal and regularly interviewed by media outlets, Kathuria has been featured by the BusinessMakers show, CBS Radio, and is a monthly columnist for the SmartBusiness Magazine.

Kathuria is the author of the highly acclaimed book, The Coherent Company: The Struggle for the Next Level — A Business Parable. It is a realistic and intense story of how a CEO struggles to transform the business and, in the process, struggles with his personal transformation.

Kathuria is the founder and president of  Cohegic Corporation, a management consulting, executive coaching and sales coaching firm. Halliburton, Hewlett-Packard, St. Lukes Episcopal Health System, AT&T, and Imperial Sugar Company executives have co-published seminal business articles with Kathuria in the Houston Business Journal on sales effectiveness, performance, corporate culture, and change management.

Invited to speak at large conferences and corporate meetings, Kathuria is a thought provoking and vivacious speaker. He has spoken at the 5th Annual Veterans Entrepreneurship Conference, Rice University, Business Forum on Emerging Markets, University of Houston's Wolff Center For Entrepreneurship, University of Texas' Fleming Center for Healthcare Management, Institute of Internal Auditors, Dover Club, Galleria Chamber of Commerce, American Business Women's Association, French American Chamber of Commerce, Business Resources Group, Financial Executives Networking Group, Silver Fox Advisors, Houston Technology Center and the 2011 SPE Americas E&P Health, Safety, Security, and Environmental Conference.