Understanding teams, their dynamics, and how to work within them is one of, if not the most important skill in business – anyone could tell you that. But when we assess this at a higher level, we find that these team dynamics are often determined by, or at least guided in part by, a culture. A culture develops within groups of people of all sizes – it’s a natural and unavoidable aspect of human interaction. With this reality in mind, it’s important for businesses to get ahead of the game and establish a strong, healthy culture in the workplace at all levels, empowering every team under the organization to perform at their best.
Teams are ultimately comprised of individuals, and if the individuals in a team are not all on the same page, things can take a turn for the worst. However, in an organization with a strong culture, the individuals that comprise teams will be overwhelmingly better team members than those in an organization without one. This is even more true for team members within a culture aligned with not only a business strategy, but also a company purpose – the fundamental reason why the company exists. They will be happier with their position, more engaged with their work, and more agreeable to their colleagues. This will empower individuals to perform better within their teams on a day-to-day basis, reducing interpersonal conflict and turnover.
A positive company culture will undoubtedly manifest in a team’s outputs, regardless of their position or department within an organization. For example, a customer service team will have many opportunities to display the company culture to people outside an organization through quality service, which develops its brand identity in a positive way. Or, a high level meeting between executives might (and likely will) entail taking company culture into account when making strategic decisions, which will have the dual positive effect of improving the company’s bottom line and strengthening their culture from the top down.
It is evident that developing a positive, purposeful, and strategically aligned company culture is important for any business. It’s a critical part of maintaining optimal functionality within teams at every level. But one might ask – what entails a positive company culture? Is there a right way and a wrong way to build one? The answer to both questions is – it depends.
What entails a positive culture for a company will greatly depend on the input of all those involved in it. People may favor a culture of order and safety, one of results and authority, purpose and caring, enjoyment and learning, or any mix of those eight traits. It’s important to note that culture is a fluid concept, not a rigid one. As such, companies should be prepared to adapt their desired culture to current and future realities, or at least be prepared for internal adaptations along the way.
What entails a positive culture will also depend on the objective realities of a company, like its business model, industry, processes, etc. A culture built right would also be aligned with a business strategy. For example, a retail company might base their culture around enjoyment and caring, enabling teams to fulfill strategic goals in maximizing customer satisfaction. Meanwhile, a manufacturing company might base their culture around order and safety to minimize confusion and physical danger among their employees, enabling teams to meet production goals.
Overall, culture is at the heart of any strong team, and strong teams are at the heart of any strong business. Take full advantage of any opportunities to develop or strengthen a positive, purposeful culture in your teams and in your place of work – the benefits are clear at every level.
“Team Culture: Identifiers, Benefits, and How to Build One that Works” [Article]. Glassdoor. Available at: https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/guide/team-culture/ [Accessed Jun 20, 2022]
“Understanding and Developing Organizational Culture” [Article]. SHRM. Available at: https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/toolkits/pages/understandinganddevelopingorganizationalculture.aspx [Accessed Jun 20, 2022]
Groysberg, Boris et al. (2018). “The Leader’s Guide to Corporate Culture” [Article]. CDC Loans. Available at: https://hbr.org/2018/01/the-leaders-guide-to-corporate-culture [Accessed Jun 20, 2022]