How Values Can Shape your Company Culture and Deliver a Winning Strategy

Culture and strategy go hand-in-hand for business success. Whether it’s cost efficiency, customer service or an emphasis on quality, your business values will shape your organisational culture which is the basis for a winning strategy.

Culture influences employee behaviour and that influences results. This means that a winning culture can lead to winning results. But how do you create a winning culture? You need to develop your company’s values. By having something which your company stands for, you can develop your culture into something which influences long-term business success. Core values should stand the test of time and remain constant even when your strategy changes.

A great company culture starts with values. They can act as behavioural guidelines for achieving your vision; your company’s purpose.  They don’t have to be particularly new or unique to your company, but they do need to be authentic and be upheld at all times.

Some core values could be:

  • Accountability – taking and acknowledging responsibility
  • Integrity – being honest about business practices
  • Innovation – developing new products and practices
  • Community – demonstrating social responsibility
  • Encouragement – giving employees the opportunity to create and grow
  • Commitment – to both customers and employees

Once you know your values, your company culture can be shaped around them.

How values can influence strategy and success

Values are the very essence of your company’s beliefs, philosophy and vision. Having a set of values that clearly defines what the company stands for can give you an advantage over your competitors, whose values might not speak to the public in the same way.

Core values can also be useful retention tools helping you attract and keep the most skilled and experienced of employees. Having a team of top talent that shares and embraces your values is key. Staff who care about the company will more likely strive for success, and will naturally represent your company’s fundamental beliefs while delivering your business strategy and achieving results.

Your core values should form the basis for every decision your company makes, and employees should be aware of these values from their first day at work. Weave your values into everything, from the hiring process and performance management, to promotions and even dismissals. If an employee doesn’t share and represent your values, they might not be a good fit. Having the right people will strengthen your culture.

Values can also affect relationships and reputation. Your relationships with stakeholders are undeniably important, and even during difficult periods, upholding your values promotes trust, strengthens your reputation and effectively communicates that your company is worth doing business with.

Empty values can be detrimental. If you don’t practice what you preach, you risk cynical, unmotivated staff and you undermine your credibility to stakeholders and the public. One way around this is to talk about values over a period of time with the board and key employees, rather than pluck them out of thin air. It pays to be sure and take your time, or risk it backfiring later.

Culture encompasses your organisation’s vision and values, and it’s one of the driving forces of strategy. To stay ahead, you must adapt and change your strategy and always seek to improve even during periods of success. Your culture will allow you to adapt and make necessary changes, that’s why it’s important to monitor it and to verify that it embraces your values, which should be upheld when business is good, and importantly, when it’s not.