It’s True… Culture is Eating Strategy for Breakfast

For years, we have worked with clients and their customers to understand how engagements can be improved to satisfy the needs of the end customer. 9 times out of 10, the inhibitor to progressing customer satisfaction, loyalty, engagement and ultimately advocacy, comes back to culture. Customers sense that the people working on their programs lack motivation in the mission of their work. Often, this is an early indicator of challenges on the horizon.

Today, businesses are investing in transformation programs at a higher rate than ever before. When we ask CEOs the number one catalyst or inhibitor to driving forward transformation work, they answer culture. Yet when you dig underneath this, it is difficult to find a clear, focused investment in culture initiatives and programs.

Culture is shaped by employees and their experiences: what they value and believe. It is defined by bringing to life the vision and leadership principles valued most by employees.  According to a Gallup poll, 70% of American employees are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged.” It’s estimated that actively disengaged employees cost companies $450-$550 billion in lost productivity.

Transformation agendas are difficult, and require an empowered and engaged employee base to ensure that customers are well serviced throughout the transformation period and beyond. This requires senior executives to ensure they have a mission that matters to their employees — one where employees can see how their work impacts that mission.

Your customers know when your employees do not feel inspired by the work they are doing and this is the number one alarm bell that executives state in canceling contracts. Investing in culture is not a ‘soft’ thing; it is an imperative to driving your business through its transformation agenda and retaining clients along the way. As you consider your change agenda, do not underestimate the investment required in the ‘soft’ side of internal culture in helping you get through your transformation quickly and effectively.

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