Build A Culture with Purpose

Company culture defines the working environment, and whether shaped intentionally or grown organically, it can make or break a company. To build a culture with purpose means to identify what your company stands for. “You want an organization that reflects who you are,” said Lisa Schauer, president of PointNorth Consulting. “Purpose and values should drive all of your decisions.”

At the June MAP Alliance forum, Schauer explained the importance of aligning culture with values. “Culture expresses goals through values and guides activity through shared assumptions and group norms,” she said. She noted that Millennials, who will make up half of the workforce by 2020, are more drawn to companies that put their values on the forefront. “Millennial workers want to feel like they’re making an impact,” she said. “To do that, they need to know what you stand for.” 

She defined eight types of organizational cultures:

  1. Caring – values relationships and mutual trust; e.g., Disney
  2. Purpose – values idealism and altruism, e.g., Whole Foods
  3. Learning – values exploration, expansiveness and creativity; e.g., Tesla
  4. Enjoyment – values fun and excitement; e.g., Zappos
  5. Results – values achievement and winning; e.g., GlaxoSmithKline
  6. Authority – values strength, decisiveness and boldness; e.g., HUAWEI
  7. Safety – values planning, caution and preparedness; e.g., Lloyd’s
  8. Order – values respect, structure and shared norms; e.g., U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission

To build your company’s culture with purpose, Schauer offered four tips:

  1. Define your company values. Ask yourself:
    1. What do you stand for?
    1. Why do you exist?
    1. What is your purpose?
  2. Invest in recruiting. Hire for values and competency.
  3. Use values-driven and behavioral questions in the interview process.
  4. Invest and engage feedback for new hires from current staff.
  5. Ensure onboarding is a reflection of culture reinforcing values. Remember, culture is a powerful differentiator.
  6. Create Accountability. Fire when values are violated.
  7. Leaders create an important catalyst for change.
  8. Communicate. Sharing is caring.
  9. Create conversations around purpose, values and culture.
  10. Establish a framework for dialogue and cultivate widespread discussion.

Investing in your company culture can help drive individual performance, create a productive work environment and ultimately help your business thrive.

Originally published on WSU Vancouver Business Department webpage