How to Develop a Strong Company Culture
Mark Ledden shares the first installment of this three-part series of articles describing Kenning’s 3D Culture Process.
To help our clients get smarter and more intentional about their cultures, we’ve developed a proprietary methodology called 3D Culture. It’s a robust yet efficient 3-step process (Diagnose, Design, and Develop) for evaluating the current state of a client’s culture and prescribing a set of actions, as necessary, aimed at (re)building a healthy culture while ensuring optimal integration with the organization’s vision, mission, and strategy.
This article focuses on the Design Phase of the 3D Culture process, but will refer back to the Diagnostic Phase as well, both to refresh the memory of readers who have considered our earlier article and to introduce new readers to the concept. A third article will follow, focusing on the Development Phase.
Relative to the topic of culture and intentionality, the critical issue for leaders to consider is to what degree they:
Choose to actively define and shape their organization’s culture from the top down
Elect to encourage culture to grow organically as a bottom-up process
Seek a combination approach where top-down guidance meets bottom-up forces, or
Pursue, as necessary, an active culture change strategy and process where (1) and (3) emerge as the primary options.
Below, we take up more directly the question of intentionality where culture is concerned and make the case that culture can in fact be “designed” or at the very least actively cultivated, even when an organization’s culture has grown organically, without a specific top-down process or outcome in mind.
Any capable management or leadership consultant can assess an organization with the objective of providing a set of comprehensive recommendations to address the gap between where leaders and/or employees want to be and where their organizations actually are vis à vis culture. In fact, however, a significant divide exists between making “generic” recommendations that could virtually be applied to any organization (the consulting equivalent of telling clients to “eat your vegetables”) and customizing specific recommendations that also fundamentally fit the form, purpose and style – a better description might be the “gestalt” – of an organization. Once we enter into the realm of gestalt we are engaging something intangible but real, and something far more difficult to capture than a set of sound management principles that can be boiled down into any number of familiar frameworks.
Key points include:
The creative organization
The question of culture
A culture design case study
Access the full article, Designing a healthy culture, on KenningAssociates.com.