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The role of organisational culture in business success

Organisational culture refers to the shared values, beliefs, customs, behaviours and practices that shape the way people work together within an organisation. It is their personality, a driving force that significantly impacts the way employees perceive their working environment, their levels of motivation and, ultimately, their performance.

However, thinking about culture is the greatest organisational irony ever - any organisation has the power to decide how to build it, but any organisation that neglects this issue will not fail to have a culture because of it.

In the immortal words of Peter Drucker "Culture eats strategy at breakfast, operational excellence at lunch and everything else at dinner". This means that for any organisation to succeed, well-structured governance, the involvement of all stakeholders and even the best product/service are not enough if there is no common working basis.

Leading by example has never been more important than when it comes to culture! Whether it's a formal leadership role or an informal leader who has gained ascendancy over the group, it's up to these "beacons" to show and positively reinforce behaviours that mirror the desired culture and avoid/punish those that go against it. Over time, this dichotomy is taken up by everyone in the organisation, taking root in the way we work and gaining an impact that goes beyond the leadership and its presence. We become agents of this culture, even if we are alone or even in a situation where the alternative entails fewer costs or obstacles. This is the real strength of an organisation's culture - it goes beyond procedures or rules, it becomes the internal glue of everyone in the team and influences everyone's behaviour even if no one is watching.

Creating and maintaining a positive organisational culture requires effort and commitment from all levels of the organisation, in various dimensions such as maintaining congruence between values, purpose and business, knowing how to set an example, communicating regularly and, finally, celebrating successes and learning from failures.

Organisational culture plays a vital role in the way people work together within an organisation and its impact is beginning to be the X factor in business success - after all, what makes the difference between organisations is the people who make them up.

By Rita Duarte | Chief People's Officer at Wellow™ Group