Corporate Culture is Out, Corporate Community is In

sharlynlaubyToday’s post is courtesy of our board member, Sharlyn Lauby – also known as the HR Bartender.

Last month I had the opportunity to attend the Great Place to Work conference in Dallas. One of the core themes from the event centered on creating and sustaining corporate culture. Several CEOs talked about this being their number one challenge – not customers, not talent acquisition, but maintaining their culture.

In fact, they likened their culture to more of a community. That was the term they used too – community. When I think about creating a “community,” a few things come to mind:

  • Creating shared beliefs, experiences and traditions
  • Building authentic relationships
  • Supporting the other members of the community

Culture and community sound very similar. The one thing that’s clear is the measurement of success. Communities are successful because their members are successful. For a community to thrive, it needs care and attention. This means building and growing a community is about people, not programs.

Building a corporate culture based upon programs will only take the organization so far. What sustains your culture is developing people for leadership roles, finding purpose in their work and connecting with the company. It’s what Simon Sinek refers to in his book and TED talk as “Start With Why.”

I hope you check out the video. In it, Sinek sets up a compelling case for why some organizations are great and others are simply good. And naturally, it has to do with “why.”

 Why (companies do it) – How (companies do it) – What (companies do)

Lots of really good organizations know what they do and how they do it. But great organizations know why they do it. It makes me wonder. Is it possible that corporate cultures know what they do and how they do it but corporate communities know why they do it?

Sinek takes the conversation one step further. Customers decide to buy from businesses because they believe in the “why” of a company. From a talent perspective, is it possible that employees decide to apply because they believe in the “why” of an organization?

If “why” is the differentiator, then I completely understand the CEO comments about community. Community is their “why.” It’s what makes the company great. It attracts customers. It attracts the best talent. It creates competitive advantage in every way.

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