“Culture is much more important than vision. Some leaders have great a vision but have created a toxic culture where that vision will never happen.” – Phil Cooke
Pause for a while and read the opening quote once more. As businesses and activities try to return to normalcy – after the lockdown – it is imperative that we discuss this important topic that dwells on vision and culture. The topic is broad because it affects all facets in the organisation. It touches sales and marketing, human resources and administration, production, finance, maintenance and so on. Once you fix organisational culture, you fix a lot of things in the organisation.
Culture encompasses the ideas, customs and social behaviours of a people. Culture includes beliefs, capabilities, laws and habits of individuals in a group.
Therefore organisational culture includes values and behaviours that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of a business. Organisational culture influences the way people interact, the context in which knowledge is shared and the attitude of people to changes.
Organisational culture represents collective values, beliefs and principles of organisational members.
Flamholtz and Randle (2011) suggest that one can view organisational culture as corporate personality. They see organisation culture as consisting of values, norms and beliefs which influence the behaviour of people as members of an organisation.
From the definition of culture, you will agree that it is deeply rooted in beliefs, values, capabilities, norms, and laws. These elements are the ingredients that make or mar a people. Once there are errors in these elements, then there will be serious issues.
Vision is a destination. Vision defines direction; it is what you see.
Culture is not what you see, it is what you do and how you do it. The factor that gives results is not necessarily what we see. What we see is important, but the main element that ensures results is what we do. Action is eloquence, so says William Shakespeare.
As a business and management scholar, I know the importance of vision. In fact, I have written a lot on vision, mission, goals and objectives. But in all these, I strongly believe that nothing works when beliefs, behaviours, capabilities, laws and habits are on the wrong side. When these elements are in the wrong direction, they simply create a wrong environment.
If you have the best vision in the world but have a wrong environment, then you need a miracle to achieve your vision!
Crux of the matter
The problem, most times, may not be in what we see (vision) but in what we do (culture). A lot of folks have the ability to create a great vision but lack the ability to ensure the right culture that will make the vision happen. This is the crux of the matter. This is the bane of development in Nigeria. This is why we have great vision of being the giant of Africa but have failed to actualise it.
Nations and business organisations that want to be outstanding must develop the right culture. The right culture develops the right people and the right people ensure that the vision is pursued intelligently and vigorously. This is how to succeed as a people.
I often recommend that organisations should ensure that they harmonise their vision and culture in a way that everyone can see and understand the bigger picture. When there is harmony in these constructs, then the organisation is on the right path.
Business leaders should invest efforts in building winning organisational cultures. This is a vital assignment. When the vision is crystal clear and the right culture is in place, then the organisation is set to win.
Organisations that have the right culture in place will bounce back stronger and better in the post COVID-19 marketplace.
Build a winning culture
Define a great vision.
Be outstanding in the marketplace.
The time is always right to do the right thing.
George O. Emetuche, CES, is a Brian Tracy endorsed bestselling author, accredited training consultant, life coach, sales and marketing expert.