WHEN to Develop a Company Culture?

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WHEN to Develop a Company Culture?
Gandhi Heryanto, Director, Indonesia

Nowadays in our global world anybody has an opinion about what company culture means and why it's important.
But in the view of McKinnon, it's premature to focus on building a world-class culture before a world-class product.
In the beginning, all that matters (or should matter) is building something great and lasting. Only when your company grows, culture can exert its powerful effect on people by steering them to act or to behave in a certain way when the path is otherwise unclear.
Then it is time to think about what sort of company we want and how we would get there. It isn’t enough just to ‘let it happen’ on its own. Just like we’d maniacally built the product, we need to do the same with culture.

I am looking forward to your ideas about this question.

Source: Todd McKinnon, How To Build A Great Company Culture, Forbes

WHEN to Develop a Company Culture
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
Thanks for your interesting question. On one hand, I can see the practical logic that as an entrepreneurial company you need to focus first and foremost on building a great product. Otherwise there is nothing to sell.
On the other hand, you should not postpone building the culture, because once established, it is very hard to change a culture. For example, if you hire 'cowboys' in the start-up phase of a new firm to sell your product, it could be hard to change the culture they represent later on.
So I recommend to do both at the same time, at least at a high level. Actually I recommend to look after ALL aspects (see 7 S-es) right from the start of your new firm. Or prepare to pay the price later.

Organisation Culture Should be Present from the First Day
Organisation culture is a very significant and important aspect of every organisation. From my point of view, the culture should be a "give and take" relationship between employers and employees and not need any occasion to start. It should exist from the first day when any individual joins the organization. Doing so might provide a competitive advantage and enhance the goodwill too.

Culture is There from DAY ONE
ZHANG SAN, HR Consultant, China
It is a little interesting to discuss when to develop a company culture. I agree with @POONAM LIKHITKAR: If we accept the notion that a company culture is the way of life of a company or "our way of doing things here", then it should be there in a company from day one.
We cannot image that a company can grow efficiently without an agreed way of doing things, be it implicitly or explicitly. In this sense, when to develop a culture is rather a technical question, i.e. when we need to conceptualize and document our existing cultural elements.

Organisation Culture Development is Based on Experience
K.P.RAJA, Manager, India
Organisations need to review and develop their culture in scenarios or situations, when the company experiences its efforts to generate value for itself and to its customers. If these efforts are found not under control or not satisfactory to the global requirements, that will require extra efforts (more than optimal) to manage the operations and executions to achieve the targets (eg. profitability, innovations).

When to Develop a Company's Culture and Values
KC Love Cong, Other, Philippines
I am a graduate student in organizational development at the same time working as Accounting Manager in a very dynamic construction company. One thing that stick to my mind regarding organizational culture, both in theory and practice, is that culture is shared values within the organization. It should start with identifying the core values - mostly from the founding members. But it can change with the demands of time and/or leadership style. Core values would, directly or indirectly, determine what is our business, why we are in business and where we are going. It's like an organization's battle cry. In my opinion, both should work together world-class culture and world-class product. It is a total package. I agree to start on day one. Otherwise, the argument would go on, like the question of which comes first: chicken or egg?

When to Develop a Company's Culture and Values
Charles Gray, Student (MBA), New Zealand
The culture of an organisation begins as the organisation begins. Most organisations will begin with one or two people and it is their inherent personality that begins to shape the culture of the organisation.
Even while they are building the best possible product they are setting the foundation for the future culture of the organisation by the way they do things. If culture is the "way things are done around here" it is the doing that influences the culture.
The culture can change over time but only with a concerted and concentrated effort.

Develop a Company Culture Continuously
Fillemon Nangolo Hambuda, HR Consultant, Namibia
I agree with the notion by Charles Gray that the doing influences organizational culture. I also agree that it should happen from day one.
My understanding is that an organisation recruits staff members with the same values as the owners, and that is where the difficulty lies. People have their own attitudes and values and during the recruitment they can fake it to impress and be hired.
I suggest that there should be continuous validations (periodic) of these values by the staff members. This can be as a result of their participation in team activities, their performance, management style and so forth. Over time, the organizational culture will change to the better. The days are gone whereby culture change was determined by the top management (top down approach), now it shall happen from the bottom up. Remember people from the new generations do things differently.

Culture in Organizations Should be Dynamic and Future-oriented
zahra gheidar, Consultant, Iran
I think when answering this question we should realize that changing is definite. On the other hand, culture is usually based on the past.
For creating a dynamic culture, organizations should move based on the future not on the past...

When to Develop a Company Cuture?
Brookin, CEO, Japan
This is an ill-conceived question, answered in the postulate. A world-class culture is not predicated by a world-class product; corporate culture can precede manufacturing and sales.
"In the beginning..." the corporate culture is crucial in guiding the process of "building something".
The sloppily phrased question ignores the dynamic of an enterprise as it passes through its life stages: the corporate sense of purpose and corporate character must evolve from day one, but its core needs to be defined and nurtured by the leadership from day one.
No one guiding an enterprise, at any stage, should let it happen.

Managing/Changing Corporate Culture
Wilf Marshall, CxO / Board, United Kingdom
I would like to add the following points to this discussion.
Firstly, in my work in strategic organizational development, I subscribe to the premise that culture is 'the way we do things around here' and is therefore behaviourally based. On this basis I define culture as a 'portfolio of tacit behavioural protocols' inherent to an organization. Here I am using tacit to mean 'subconscious' in the same manner as tacit knowledge in knowledge management. I can therefore influence and/or develop culture through introducing a behavioural change process. I do this through constructing a 'corporate agenda' of required/desired organizational knowledge and behaviour and by making direct interventions in the informal and formal communications activities to ensure these always promote and reflect the agenda.
Secondly I treat all organizations as complex adaptive systems which automatically adopt default behaviours i.e. default cultures. To change the culture, change the default behaviours.

Accepted Standard of Doing Things
I am of the opinion that company culture refers to the accepted standard of doing things in a particular organisation. This means standards should be set and built into the way things are done. The mission and vision of any organisation are declarative statements that guide its operations. Therefore, I believe that the company culture should be established when a company is born and maintained throughout its life cycle, possibly with modifications, if need be.

When and Why to Develop Company Culture?
Tatiana Orlova, Coach, Russian Federation
Interesting and important questions, aren't they?
I would say "Why" should be on the first place. If you do not need one, why should you develop it? And what is it? My short definition would be: it is “the patterns on how people work together, including communications, comfort, etc.” Company climate. So is it important? Yes.
The second question would be: Why people use those patterns? To achieve the goal(s). of the company and their own. Company culture gives employees the possibility to embed people goals into company goals. And it works: different people become company. If you are out of the culture, change it or leave. So my resume: any company will be out of the market in case there is no company culture.
Then, “When”? As soon as the company appears on market. It should be a part of any company leaders must address.
One final thing: company culture is changing. This is the main challenge from my point of view: not only company culture development, but company culture capturing.

Culture Building is a Continuous Process as it Acts as DNA of the Organisation
Guruvayurappan, Manager, India
I strongly believe culture building is a continuous process and it has no correlation to product building. However, there is no 'world class" culture per se. If the culture creates motivation and an engaged workforce, then that is a positive work culture.
However, as Leaders, we have to look for questions to reaffirm the culture when leaders at all levels communicate different vision, values to employees. Hence, creating a common vision, values helps to communicate the expected culture. Further, living up to the values by leaders, focusing on set vision, and reaffirm the same during various management meetings will create appropriate culture. Leaders must also create 'stories' to support the value systems and make employees connect with the vision.

Finally, the long term purpose of the organization will drive culture building. Short-term focus on profitability, product development etc. has limited correlation to building organization culture.

Building Culture is a Continuous Process
Apolosi Vosanibola, Turnaround Manager, Fiji
It is important that the visions of the leaders are translated and transferred to the workers. It is not a one-time event, but through regular dialogue with the team we would see the expected culture become a reality.

When to Develop a Company Culture
sunilog, Entrepreneur, India
Many organizations will inherit the culture of the entrepreneur.
So we need to make some conscious effort to bring culture change in the organisation to make it a global company. in my opinion, product development and culture development are equally important.

Culture is Organic to Purpose
Tom Wilson, HR Consultant, United States
There is an inescapable yin-yan relationship between culture and purpose in an organizational: the one begins to emerge as the focus of the organizational community defines the operational norms and standard operating procedures. In this respect, command will largely define culture. The idea that a corporate culture can precede a product suggests that culture is actually the corporate product. But culture is a result; not the reaison d'etre.
Trotsky said in a somewhat different context that trying to transform a culture is like trying to resurrect a cemetery.

Culture is not Some Garnish
Bernhard Keim, Business Consultant, Germany
Culture is not some garnish you add to the company to shine brighter to show to the outside what a great company you are. Culture is the operating system of a company. It develops over time and it is very hard to change later. It's the way things are done in a company.
When you are developing a new strategy you have to develop it so that it fits to the culture of the company. And if the culture impedes change, you have to break with it. But it's hard.

For example, when a company has been driven by a command and control style of leadership where people only reacted it will be very hard to implement a communication-driven behavior with open-minded employees. They have to unlearn the restrictive way to communicate as suddenly they are expected to tell what they think, and think for themselves. Instead of non-contradicting a senior manager they have to challenge his opinion to succeed and take other peoples' (coworkers, customers...) opinions into account.

A change in culture disconcerts humans. They feel uncomfortable, insecure etc. Nevertheless it is necessary if you plan to create a responsive organization.

Communication and Company Culture - When?
Arie Malcus, Coach, Switzerland
If we consider corporate culture as a core part of an organization, so communication should be the core of this corporate culture.
When? Communication and information must be constantly maintained and cared for. The dialogue must be sought from the top down for the time being. The top management prepares it. Then the dialog will also develop in the other directions. The bottom up direction of the dialog in this case, will be particularly desirable.
Thus, the corporate culture is initially influenced by the management level and finds later its own dynamic. Nevertheless, it remains the responsibility of the leaders to constantly control the way this development process is taking. This by own role modeling and by giving clear signals for the right direction considering corporate goals and values.

Developing the Company Culture
Francisco Encarnado, Management Consultant, Philippines
Company Culture is the backbone of a compan's operation. I should say that any company that wants to excel in their field should already have in mind the company culture that they want to project in the industry and in the world; not only in the country of its origin.
The Vision, Mission, Core Values and Policies and Corporate Goal cascading down to the company personnel should already consider the company culture that the founders have in mind. If that is the case, then all people working in the company shall develop and adopt themselves to that culture. Otherwise, if they are not aligned with it, they will find themselves out of the culture and cannot continue.
It is natural that the founder dreams his/her company to last for long generations thus will have made a long range plan that may last even centuries with regular reviews to adopt with the current situation.
Developing culture may also be done later when the company is already stable and sure to last for a lifetime as forseen.

Problems of Postponing Developing Company Culture
Belay Gezahegn, Director, Ethiopia
When a new firm comes to life, what it will first do, among others, is to select employees who have work experience in other firms. Delay in developing company culture will let the new joiners develop other company cultures in the new company as they have no way to unlearn the old way and learn the new way of doing jobs. Eventually such firms will find themselves in a hotchpotch of cultures and have to go a long way to develop a more uniform company culture.
Company culture emanates from the mission, the vision and the core values and the business model applied to implement the strategy of a company. As said by other online colleagues developing company culture must therefore start on the day of its inception.
Kindest regard.

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