6 Tips for Better Organizational Culture

In my work as a professional speaker and leadership trainer, I've learned a great deal about how strong organizational cultures are created and maintained. One of the biggest roadblocks to an effective organizational culture I see again and again is the mission and values of the organization are misaligned with how decisions are made. Whether it comes in the form of miscommunication or power imbalances, misaligned purpose begets a sub-par organizational culture.


To get your team back on track, follow these 6 ideas for building a better organizational culture:

1. Establish organizational values and ensure they're universally understood.

Every person in your organization plays a critical role in maintaining company culture. To make sure everyone understands the organization's values they're expected to uphold and follow. Make organization values a part of daily conversations by discussing them with team members and using them to support organizational decisions.

It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.
— Roy E. Disney

2. Show how your purpose is connected to a larger mission.

You should never expect employees to follow organizational values just because you tell them to. It's a lot easier for employees to understand and embody organizational values when they understand the big picture. Do your best to connect your brand purpose back to your mission.

Every single action should tie to the big picture.

3. Build in a buffer and allow for mistakes.

Forgiveness is one essential part of company culture that people often forget about. But mistakes are inevitable. Your employees need to view their mishaps as opportunities for growth and development. If you aren't forgiving and supportive when your employees experience a setback, they'll be afraid to try new things and take risks.

4. Ensure everyone is aligned.

Strong company cultures are bound by relationships. If people are struggling to get along and miscommunication is rampant, it's likely your culture is faltering, too. By paying close attention to the daily interactions within your organization, so that you can remedy internal misalignment and communication challenges early on.

5. Hire and cultivate people who believe in your mission.

Hiring capable employees is a challenge in itself; hiring employees that fit into your culture is much more difficult. Culture fit shouldn't precede aptitude, but you should think about how a person's skill set fits into and contributes to your culture. Hiring people who support your mission on a personal level will help you create a more effective organizational culture.

Hire people who fit into and advance your culture in profound ways.

6. Importance of language.

How you speak to managers and employees sets a tone for how everyone else interacts. This in itself can be an effective way to demonstrate your company's values. We all get upset and frustrated at times, and your ability to manage those situations with positive, non-threatening language will set you apart from ordinary leaders.

A leader’s language sets the tone for everyone’s interactions.

Please add to the conversation—comment below or on Twitter at @gregbellspeaks.