In an organization, culture is an “intangible” that many times goes unnoticed or unchecked until there are challenges. It’s like air. Most of us don’t notice the air around us until it smells funny or is difficult to breathe.
Like clean air, a healthy organizational culture is comfortable and welcoming. It promotes life and growth, and leads to new and bigger things.
Conversely, toxic air and culture can lead to discomfort, sickness and even death.
As the “essence” of an organization, culture is really a collection of norms, values and behaviors. It goes beyond the mission and a definition of “what we do” to point to how we do things.
This is important because the way we do things influences our donors and clients as well as our staff and board. It’s one of the simple reasons why some organizations are SO GOOD at fundraising and delivering services, experiencing steady or even steep growth, while other organizations just can’t get their programs off the ground. Like Peter Drucker said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
The good news is that culture can be created. By proactively assessing the culture of your organizations and envisioning where you want to be, you can design a strategy that moves your organization forward in a positive direction.
At ASP, we believe culture is a key part of any strategic planning process and should be monitored and supported by staff and board alike. We recommend all organizations undertake a cultural assessment of key areas including employee performance, innovation, satisfaction and resistance to change, with the goal of using the results to create cultural shifts that move the organization – and its mission – forward.
Is the air in your office a little hazy? Are you ready to breathe freely and realize a better future for your organization?
Let us know – we’re here to help!