Positively impacting society on a global scale through culture awareness, education and action.

Creating an exceptional customer experience has become a top priority for the world’s greatest organizations as more companies realize that an exceptional customer experience can be a true competitive advantage.  An exceptional customer experience requires an exceptional organizational culture.

Core values are traits or qualities that represent deeply held beliefs. They reflect what is important to us, and what motivates us. In an organization, values define what it stands for and how it is seen and experienced by all stakeholders (customers, employees, service partners, suppliers and communities). In this organizational context, values are moving from a PR exercise to become the guiding compass, not only for progressive, enlightened organizations but for more well established corporates too.

With a global focus on the 2014 Boston Marathon, we take time to remember those impacted by the events of the 2013 Marathon.  It is important to always remember the countless examples of courage, support, and life-saving heroics.

One example of the many organizations providing support at the 2013 Marathon was the American Red Cross.   As soon as the devastating events occurred at the 2013 Boston Marathon finish line, the Red Cross was able to instantly convert some of their standard runner first aid stations used for the race into triage centers to support those impacted.  The courage demonstrated by individuals, first responder organizations, and the immediate aid from groups like the American Red Cross is a testimony to the importance of resilience in any situation.  Resilience at both the individual and organizational level is vital in times of crisis.

What is the level of trust in your culture? What do employees think of senior management?

Research says that only 49% of employees trust senior management. The scores for CEO’s are even more dismal; 28% of surveyed employees felt the CEO was a credible source of information.

Whether your business is large or small, if you are the CEO, you are also the CCO—the Chief Cultural Officer. Culture matters – it is what makes the difference between a thriving, profitable, and growing business and one that is lethargic and struggling. The CCO who takes on the creating, shaping, and development of the company’s culture will see a highly productive and happy workforce who produce significant bottom line results.

During his many years of working with groups around the world, Stephen R. Covey (best-selling author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) had the incredible opportunity to personally observe how organizations best leverage the unique contributions of everyone in the workforce, regardless of their age, generation or style.  After studying a wide-range of diverse groups including Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) such as Grameen Bank, and global organizations like Marriott Hotels International, Covey found that an important step in building and sustaining long-term results required the thoughtful process of creating guiding principles.  These principles provide organizations and all employees with a baseline which provides clarity around performance and results.

Jim Collins said that “a culture of discipline is not a principle of business, it is a principle of greatness.”  Those words might resonate with many leaders who are feeling frustrated about aspects of accountability, attention to detail, collaboration, or some other area in their organization.  The reality is that discipline must start with the habits, routines, and rigor of leadership.  Therefore, the big question is, “what are the approaches that will set the tone for a deeper culture of discipline?”

It’s time for leaders in all organizations (non-profit, for-profit, healthcare, government, education, etc.) to get serious about how culture is impacting their performance.  At Culture University we believe that all leaders need to build on that understanding, engage their organizations to harness the incredible power of culture, and strive to make a meaningful impact.

The good news is that culture has caught on as a concept but Edgar Schein, a top culture thought leader, says it’s just as a “word” and people need to be aware that 90% of their behavior is driven by cultural rules and not personality.  He shared this and other key insights about culture and leadership in the second part of a recent interview leading up to the launch of CultureUniversity.com.

Culture is a hot topic but remains a tremendous opportunity for most organizations to further support their purpose, solve problems, and improve performance. One of the foremost authorities on the subject of culture is Edgar Schein, Professor Emeritus with MIT Sloan School of Management, and author of many best sellers including The Corporate Culture Survival Guide and, his most recent book, Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling.  He was recently interviewed for the launch of CultureUniversity.com and a number of important culture insights were captured to help bring clarity to this deep and important topic.

Culture is clearly a powerful force, but it’s unfortunately being used as an excuse for disasters ranging from the banking crisis five years ago to the Fukushima nuclear disaster and even the locker room hazing crisis of the Miami Dolphins.

If culture is a contributing cause to so many disasters then it’s especially concerning considering the recent Booz & Company survey where 96 percent of respondents felt culture change was needed in their organization and 51 percent felt a major culture overhaul was needed.