A CTO's perspective
Regardless of the size of business, every business has a culture. Some cultures are explicit while others are implicit. Today, business cultures are very relevant as they are used as a competitive advantage tool. So, developing a strong culture and communicating it effectively is vital, especially if your competitors are already expressing their cultures in a strong way.
Developing a culture is different for each company and changing a culture requires special skills. As a general guide and starting point, here are two simple, yet highly effective, actions that can be taken towards developing a strong culture relevant to any business.
1. Take a close look at your business model.
If you have not written one down, I strongly suggest you use one of the many free templates available online and write it down. Business models are powerful tools as they not only focus management decision-making, they are a graphic representation of a business plan that is needed for business funding, and it also communicates the business purpose in a clear, precise way.
Does your business model have a strong value proposition that focuses on the value you provide customers? Is it something like – “Rides in minutes” (Lyft), or, “Light. Years ahead” (MacBook), or, “CTO as a service” (ToodGlobal), “Deliver on time every time” (unknown).
The value proposition is the core of why you are in business (purpose), how you deliver it, who you deliver to, and the quality. A workforce that is focused on a clear value proposition act develop a culture aligned with company focus and values.
2. Another area to take a close look at is the leadership approach of the business.
Is it hierarchical and bureaucratic or is it horizontal where there are no management levels as such but teams with everyone playing a vital part in the success of the business?
For example, in your sales office, do you tell staff how they fall short each day or is there a suggestion box/daily meeting for the sales team to share customer comments, complaints, requirements with suggested solutions to those in the room?
The horizontal approach supports your company in accumulating valuable intel about your customers that informs decision-making and keeps you up to date with your customers changing needs and expectations. In terms of culture, staff feel an “ownership” of the business as their contributions are considered and are valuable to the company.
As mentioned previously, culture identification, development, change is a highly specialist skill, however, the two points above should provide some insight into where to start.