Differentating your business from your competitors in the marketplace is an ongoing marketing challenge. But there is another extremely important differentiating variable that must be managed consistently and with vigor. That variable is the culture that exists within your organization.
Creating a culture that truly sets your business apart from your competitors and one that encourages a and fosters achievement of goals and results is so important that it should be a critical part of your strategic plan. It is amazing how many businesses focus so heavily on things like branding and marketing and so little on nurturing a culture that makes the business strong and difficult to compete against.
The vast majority of cultures found in organizations of all sizes and types are not conducive to high performance and high morale. Most organizational cultures are left to form themselves. Those companies that understand that their internal cultures can make a huge difference in how the business performs have a plan to evolve a high performance, high morale and results-oriented culture.
Look around your businesss and try to define your culture. What kind of "environment" do your employees work in on a daily basis. Is it a positive, team-oriented and professional envrionment or is it full of negativity and low producitivity? Is there an understanding of and emphasis on goals and results? Or is the business wandering aimlessly with employees uncertain of their roles and how they might impact results? These are but a sampling of the questions you will want to ask as you assess your culture.
Your strategic plan should contain a component that addresses cultural evolvement. If there is no focus on that very important aspect of your organization, chances are it will not achieve at the level necessary over the long-haul.
Also, to what extent are your managers capable of buying into and driving methodical and comfortable cultural change and evolvement? The sad reality is that many managers are simply not good at understanding how to make this happen. So it takes strong leadership at the top of the organization to drive and teach cultural evolvement and cultural differentiation.
We encourage you to take an inventory of your culture and develop a cultural development plan as soon as possible.