Culture can be very broadly defined as “the way we do things around here”. Some companies have this really well defined. Most, less so.
It’s not the same as high level mission or values. It should drill down into exactly how people should conduct themselves on a daily basis.
Your culture should always be something that you check in with, and keep redefining on a regular basis. It should be clearly and explicitly stated.
“Unwritten rules” are not a culture – they are a recipe for disaster.
Post-pandemic is a super important time to focus on your culture
Regardless of whether or not you have previously had a well-defined culture, there is no better time to assess your current culture and make sure it’s still in sync with where you want it to be based on your current and future goals.
Given that hybrid working is here to stay in some way shape or form it’s important to include your hybrid working culture as part of your overall culture for high performance.
One of the biggest advantages of a clearly defined culture is the reduction in ambiguity. The brain hates ambiguity and thanks to the pandemic and hybrid working, we have a lot more of it. And the brain uses a bucket load of energy credits trying to reduce it.
Ambiguity might happen simply because we didn’t define whether cameras should be off or on. Or there might be ambiguity around expectations of being in the office – how many days? Can you change at short notice?
You might interview someone and you offer flexible working but you are thinking one day a week from home and they are thinking 5 days.
Ambiguity generally leads to some awkward conversations – no one likes those if we can avoid them. Awkward conversations take more cognitive energy – no one needs that.
There is more ambiguity around workflow and meeting deadlines in a hybrid environment. If things are delivered on time – awkward conversation ensues. Aargh. Again, avoidable with a clearly defined culture.
But our culture is pretty good?
Just because your culture is ok now, doesn’t mean it always will be that way. In most cases the culture is “unwritten” which means it might be working perfectly for the people who are currently there, but it only takes one new person to see things differently and others get confused or frustrated and wondering about their “cultural fit”. And yet of course the new person didn’t get the unwritten culture rules, because they were…. well…. unwritten.
If you think your culture is great just the way it is, then make sure every aspect that makes it great is clearly defined. It can then be used as part of your recruitment and onboarding processes to remove ambiguity to attract and retain the right people.
If you don’t clearly define your culture, it will be defined for you.
If you would like to discuss frameworks for determining the most appropriate hybrid culture for your company or team, please contact us to book your 45 min complimentary Performance Call.