73% say their C-Suite rarely, if ever work together on projects or strategic initiatives.

(Deloitte 2018)

The world of work is facing dramatic change driven by technology, demographic shifts and the evolving expectations of talent. Most recently, we have also witnessed a profound shift in the mindset of organisations and the role they are expected to play within wider society.

Senior leaders can’t afford to work in silos in today’s complex, dynamic environment. The goal is to act as a symphony of experts playing in harmony—instead of a cacophony of experts who sound great alone, but not together. Consciously creating their strategies, aligning their goals and objectives, prioritising, implementing and ensuring the culture is enabling and engaging.

The global survey of more than 11,000 business and HR leaders across 124 countries, reveals 10 areas for businesses to focus on to better organise, manage, develop and align people at work. (Deloitte)

   The symphonic C-suite
   People data
   From careers to experiences
   Hyper-connected workplace
   New rewards
   Citizenship and social impact
   AI, robotics and automation
   The longevity dividend
   The workforce ecosystem

Previously Deloittes’ 2016 ‘Global Human Capital Trends 2016: The new organisation: Different by Design, led with a very telling statistic:

“82% of leaders say they believe that ‘culture’ is a competitive advantage, yet fewer than 1 in 3 executives say they understand their own organisational culture”.

Think about that for a moment… whatever it turns out this mysterious substance called ‘culture’ is…eight out of ten people say it’s a competitive advantage, to be grasped or missed…but seven out of ten don’t know what it looks like, sounds like, or feels like. What chance of grasping that competitive advantage? How do you address the newly defined 10 focus areas if you don’t know your starting point?

   Leadership models are changing, as organisations dismantle the classic management pyramid, we are now in the dawning of the ‘symphonic c-suite’. ‘Teams leading Teams’. End of the Silo.
   Technology and business disruption are fueling the demand for a “new organisation”. Social enterprise.
   Catering to the employee experience is a top priority for business and HR leaders. Experience and well-being v career.

So: leadership, organisation design and capability, technology, and how people ‘feel’ are important. What else do we know? What is the ‘culture’ stuff? Before the 2018, 2016 research – the 2015 report gave us a good insight:

‘Organisations that create a culture defined by meaningful work, deep employee engagement, job and organisational fit, and strong leadership are outperforming their peers and will likely beat their competition in attracting top talent’.

How do we create meaningful work? How do we engage people? How does a C-suite be a symphony? How do we create experiences v careers? Where do we place well-being in the priorities?

Here’s a thought for you: We need to get real…culture is the way we do things around here. Get a handle on your baseline.

Culture is tangible and measurable. It is not just something that is printed on a card and distributed to staff, turned into posters, molded into a coaster, branded into a coffee mug, or used to decorate the front of a tee-shirt…yes, that’s been tried…as has singing the company song. This is all good stuff for the suppliers who make this stuff, and maybe even for the local choirmaster, and it’ll keep a few souls busy in the marketing and people department (departments are no longer required. Remember, teams leading teams) …none of the above creates the culture. Why not?

Because whether you are a member of the 30% who think they understand their culture, or whether you are one of the puzzled and curious 70% that don’t…your people will believe what you do, not what you say. If you are a leader that’s how you create and reinforce your culture on a daily basis, whether you are consciously attempting to do so, or are blissfully unaware of how important you are.

Culture is how we think and do things around here – a behavioral expression of the things we value, a procedural expression, a structural expression…a leadership expression. You can’t lie about it…because actions speak louder than words. The more senior you are, the more your own actions and decisions are scrutinized and measured against what you say you’re about.

Your organisational culture, whether you like it or not, understand it or not, will reflect you.

Culture is an outcome.

PS : Culture is not soft.
The Evidence, the excellent report from Engage for Success, states that companies with engagement scores in the top quartile have twice the net profit of those in the bottom quartile. This stat is being quoted but is it being acted upon across a wide enough community of organisations?

Culture is a living thing, being shaped all the time, whether actively or passively – consciously or unconsciously.

Repeat – Culture is an outcome.

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