4. The Leaders Role towards a Performance Corporate Culture
Top performing companies have a culture that is conducive to performance and success, according to a survey among 1200 executives, 91% agree that culture is as important as strategy for success (Meehan et al., 2008). It is generally assumed that strong cultures are linked to performance, however Alvesson (1989) in an article in the late eighties argued that these studies were not clear and lacked the importance of sub-cultures. There is however evidence that adaptive cultures are beneficial towards long term performance (Lim, 1995) and it is proven that a motivated workforce is a positive driver towards better company performance (Nohria et al., 2008).
The role of leadership towards corporate culture is of great importance. although it is agreed that in mature companies leadership`s direct influence is less, it is only leadership that can shape or reshape the culture through specific interventions. A leader is to create and maintain a positive and productive culture and is advised to possess and cultivate cultural intelligence (CQ). Cultural Intelligence assists the leader to cope with different national, corporate and vocational cultures (Early & Mosakowski, 2004).
Performance cultures are based on several important pillars to create a culture of teamwork and trust. A shared purpose and ethics of contribution are considered the “soft” parts, the “hard” parts include process that enable people to work together in disciplined ways and infrastructure in which collaboration is appreciated and rewarded (Adler et al., 2011). Personally, I am a firm believer in shared purpose and having a clear “why”. This correspond with the findings of Payne (1991) who argues that strong cultures create employees that believe in its products, customers and processes, they identify themselves with the company and its culture. Similarly Sinek’s (Sinek, 2009) golden circle puts “why” (purpose) as the core inspiration and motivation. His three level circle corresponds to Schein’s (Schein, 2010) three levels of culture.
Shaping or reshaping a performance culture is difficult and requires a strong focus from a leader. A leader should understand that shaping a culture is a means, not and end. Besides the four pillars as mentioned above a leader should assure to set clear expectations, align the leadership team, focus on organizing and delivery, create a strong sense of accountability, promote strong business ethics, and continuously communicate and celebrate (Rogers et al., 2006).
A leader should be aware of all the available ways that influence culture (Trice & Beyer, 1993; Yukl, 2010) including its embedding mechanisms (Schein, 2010) and assure that both the primary as secondary mechanism are used to express and direct the type of culture required.
The current world is ever changing, getting more complex and is fast pacing QUOTES, In my view learning, (pro-active) organisations (Senge, 1990) are...