How Can Executives Foster Strong Organizational Culture?

How Can Executives Foster Strong Organizational Culture?

In the quest to build a resilient and vibrant organizational culture, we've gathered insights from top executive leaders, including CEOs and COOs. From promoting unity around a shared purpose to celebrating shared success, explore the transformative leadership strategies that empower impactful teams.

  • Promote Unity Around Shared Purpose
  • Cultivate Integrity and Openness
  • Lead with Empathy and Strategic Vision
  • Involve Team in Core Values Development
  • Empower Workers to Choose Teams
  • Encourage Deeper Connections Between Teammates
  • Implement Weekly Idea-Sharing Calls
  • Promote Transparency and Openness
  • Create a Distinctive Shared Identity
  • Connect Roles to Mission and Values
  • Celebrate Shared Success

Promote Unity Around Shared Purpose

At Y Scouts, our approach to fostering a strong organizational culture hinges on unity and a clear focus on our purpose. As the first-ever purpose-based leadership search firm, our mission to transform how people and companies connect to meaningful work is at the core of everything we do. This purpose not only guides our daily interactions but also informs our decision-making processes—from how we treat each other to how we manage client relationships and drive innovation.

This shared purpose is more than just a guiding principle; it's a source of what I like to call 'humble swagger' that influences all our work. It helps us attract the right talent—individuals who are not only aligned with our purpose but are also proven performers. By consistently aligning our hiring practices and teamwork with our core mission, we place leaders who are poised to make a significant, positive impact. Ultimately, this purpose-driven approach enhances our collective work and allows us to contribute meaningfully to the broader community.

Max Hansen
Max HansenCEO & Co-Founder, Y Scouts

Cultivate Integrity and Openness

A company's culture has a big impact on how successful it is. As CEO of Agile B2B Sales for all these years, I have witnessed a lot of people who were wired differently. That is a blessing. I have encouraged everyone on our team to adhere to the highest standards of integrity and openness with everyone, including the management. In addition to demanding that all managers and staff members be prepared to take on tough problems head-on, we place great importance on respect. Maintaining transparency has been essential in creating a robust, cooperative culture where management can quickly eliminate obstacles and ideas can flow freely, improving results across the organization.

Sebastian Grinkraut
Sebastian GrinkrautCEO, Agile B2B Sales

Lead with Empathy and Strategic Vision

This is a subject that has deeply impacted my leadership over the last 12 years, and I have done so by ensuring good relations with my staff through empathetic communication and integrating my strategic vision.

Understanding that each one of the team has different challenges and expectations has allowed us to make our unit stronger and more inclusive. For instance, the transparency and trust from all the levels in our organization have increased. We initiated one-on-one regular feedback sessions and increased team-building activities.

These changes have been nothing short of revolutionary. Our employee satisfaction scores have increased by over 30% in the last year, and we have realized a 25% productivity increase directly related to improvements in our workplace culture.

This approach does not just add value to the performance of the individual but rather aligns them towards the same objective, making the place of work thrive with innovation and collaboration.

Alex Cornici
Alex CorniciFounder & CEO, The Traveler

Involve Team in Core Values Development

The ARM Institute has a very positive organizational culture. We've cultivated that in a few ways. Firstly, we recently underwent an exercise to formalize our organization's core values. We did this by letting team members volunteer to work on this project. That team then met, discussed our current culture, what they wanted it to be, and drafted these core values. The group of volunteers presented it to the full team, who gave input. We printed these and put them on our wall. It made the entire team feel involved and gave our leadership team insights into what we were doing well and where we could improve.

We also have a strong work-life balance at the ARM Institute. We hire the right people for our positions, which enables us to trust our team to complete high-quality work and bring new ideas to the table. We have a hybrid work environment and bring our team in for quarterly in-person meetings, which include a social activity at the conclusion (bowling, pinball, family picnic, etc.).

You cultivate a strong organizational culture by honestly soliciting feedback, listening, and adjusting. Our team feels a sense of ownership in our culture and frequently suggests ways to further strengthen what we're doing well and suggests ways to improve. That's been a game-changer for us.

Jay Douglass
Jay DouglassChief Operating Officer, ARM Institute

Empower Workers to Choose Teams

Letting workers choose their own partners and teams has been a great success at Redfish Technology. A strong organizational culture must come naturally, and forcing disparate personalities together is a recipe for failure. Instead, empower your workers to freely mix and match. Whenever possible, avoid putting together a team without input from your employees.

When I first implemented this policy, I have to admit, I was a little worried that it would result in decreased productivity, but the opposite has been true.

Work with office friendships, not against them, and you'll see your overall culture strengthen.

Rob Reeves
Rob ReevesCEO and President, Redfish Technology

Encourage Deeper Connections Between Teammates

Managing a remote team poses communication challenges, particularly because nuances like tone can get lost in emails or texts. To mitigate this, I prioritize both soliciting my team's ideas and maintaining well-organized documents for easy reference, ensuring everyone stays aligned. Additionally, our team meetings feature active 'show and tell' sessions and Q&A opportunities, fostering deeper connections among team members.

Nicole Moreno-Deinzer
Nicole Moreno-DeinzerCEO & Co-Founder, A La Mode Branding

Implement Weekly Idea-Sharing Calls

We like to start and end each week with a group call; each member is encouraged to bring a new thought or event to the chat. The best ideas and solutions to ongoing projects can pop out of any of our team members; they are constantly surprising us with their ingenuity. There are no bad ideas!

We have been a remote-working agency since the early 2010s, which has luckily resulted in a natural feel for online communication. Having real-time, open collaboration through Google Docs, Slack, and Trello is perfect for us.

We remain mindful of every individual's wishes; there is no pressure to have their camera on, or not share their thoughts, but in general, if the agency's day-to-day policy is 'video on,' it presents fewer barriers and a stronger internal culture.

In an ideal world, we would have an office back, but working across continents, cultures, and time zones creates its own vibrancy that allows us to remain agile, ready for the next project.

Miles Gripton
Miles GriptonCOO, Devstars Limited

Promote Transparency and Openness

At The Glasshouse, we emphasize transparency and open communication to foster a strong organizational culture. We host regular meetings, allowing every team member to share their thoughts and suggestions openly. This approach has empowered our staff, making them feel valued and integral to our mission. It has built trust and unity, significantly enhancing team collaboration and morale. The direct result has been an improvement in our client services and operational efficiency, reflecting the positive impact of our cultural initiatives on the entire organization.

Gianluca Sardo
Gianluca SardoChief Operating Officer, The Glasshouse

Create a Distinctive Shared Identity

Executive leaders play a pivotal role in shaping a robust organizational culture by cultivating a distinctive leadership lexicon within their teams. This language articulates desired and undesired behaviors in a manner uniquely tailored to the organization's ethos.

For instance, some organizations characterize these behaviors as 'creative' or 'reactive,' while others describe them as 'above-the-line' or 'below-the-line.' Notably, one company employs the terms 'backhand' for weak behaviors and 'forehand' for strong ones.

Likewise, the adoption of evocative nicknames, such as Googlers, Amazonians, Metamates, Chimers, Dashers, or Palantirians, serves to encapsulate a shared identity indicative of the desired culture.

By naming identity and behaviors, we generate a stronger sense of belonging, individually and collectively, that strengthens the organizational culture.

Dave Osh
Dave OshCEO, Varlinx

Connect Roles to Mission and Values

We've emphasized connecting every employee's role to the company's broader mission and values. We want team members to be invested in why they do what they do, not just the tasks themselves. We provide clear growth paths, mentorship opportunities, and support for employees to learn new skills.

Sovik S
Sovik SChief Operating Officer, IEMLabs

Celebrate Shared Success

In our health IT team, we've fostered a culture of open communication and shared ownership. We hold regular brainstorming sessions where everyone feels comfortable sharing ideas, no matter their seniority. We also celebrate successes as a team, big or small. This creates a strong sense of camaraderie and shared purpose. It's led to a more collaborative environment where innovation thrives. As a result, we're developing impactful solutions that not only address healthcare providers' needs but ultimately lead to better patient care and outcomes.

Howard Rosen
Howard RosenCEO, Nova Insights

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