A strong corporate culture can be a powerful and sustainable source of competitive advantage.But we cannot overlook the fact that a corporate culture that is misaligned with business strategy can be one of a company’s greatest weaknesses.
What do we mean by corporate culture? The official definition refers to the shared values, customs, habits and beliefs of a company. To me I like to think of corporate culture as the words that define your people.. After all, in today’s highly competitive and globalized environment, it’s the people who make the difference. Great people make great companies.
I propose a little game:
- What three adjectives do you think define you?
- If you ask those around you, with what three adjectives do you think they would define you?
- What three adjectives would you like to be defined by in 3, 5 or 10 years?
The exercise we have to do regularly in our companies is exactly the same.
Alignment between what defines us and how our environment defines us is critical.both on a personal and company level. You can define yourself as an efficient company, but if your customers, your employees… do not recognize it as such, you have a serious problem on the table.. If you do not dream of where you should evolve to in a few years timealso. You stagnate and with time you disappear.
Until a few years ago, it was difficult to discuss corporate culture outside the realm of human resources. Among other reasons because it was perceived as something difficult to measure and difficult to change, and perhaps they were right, since in many cases what we wanted the corporate culture to be was something that was only on a website or document…not all the levers within our reach were activated to achieve it.
Towards a culture of high performance. Schneider Electric’s strategy
We are determined to be a high performance culture, where people make the difference and we are clear about the adjectives with which we want our company to be identified: Schneider Electric is a company with people. direct -who make decisions, who present situations in a transparent and unbending way; with challenging people, who is challenged We are determined to banish the old saying “we’ve always done it this way”; people who are willing to challenge themselves and their customers, team and environment with the ambition to push limits and go beyond and question the way we do things – we are determined to banish the old saying “we’ve always done it this way”; people who are willing to challenge themselves and their customers, team and environment with the ambition to push limits and go beyond and question the way we do things. openwho empathize with others, who share, who collaborate with diverse ecosystems; people who passionate with their work, with their family, with their customers; and, people efficientable to prioritize what needs to be prioritized, to delegate, to fulfill his commitments…
How are we doing? How do we move from “wanting to be” to actually being a high-performance culture? I share with you some of the actions that are contributing the most:
- World management is absolutely convinced. Corporate culture is part of the company’s strategy and receives the same treatment. Our first ambassador is our own CEO.
- It’s something that really matters to us and is organization-wide. From the first to the last. So much so that, in your performance evaluationnot only the achievement of the objectives is analyzed, but also, if not more important, your values and your alignment with them. What you do weighs as much as how you do it.
- In the case of people who manage teams, we also look at their ability as leaders: are they the type of leader we want to have in order to move towards high performance? do they contribute to your teams’ high performance? Are they an example of passion, challenge, efficiency…? In the leadership by example lies one of the keys to success.
For this transformation to a high-performance culture, talent onboarding and retention is critical. We want to attract the best talent and we know that the best talent is looking for companies where, as in the case of Schneider Electric, work is more than just work – that with your work you contribute to improving society. It is looking for diverse, innovative, digitized companies… capable of creating spaces in which you can develop your potential to the fullest..
And, talent must be retained and helped to grow. WE DISCRIMINATE talentIt may sound harsh, but that’s the way it is. If we want to make rapid progress, we must identify those people who year after year who year after year have exceptional performances, who are the mirror of the company we aspire to be.. People who we know can help us become a high-performance culture and provide them with the necessary tools and gateways to help them grow. We reward and recognize high performance.
And, in parallel, we work to help our employees to give the best of themselves.. With a high commitment to training, with a culture of continuous feedback, with coaching…
What is said is done and what is said is done.
This sentence will bring a smile to the faces of more than one of our colleagues, as it has been with us for years: “At Schneider Electric, we do what we say and say what we do”. But you will allow me to resort to it, because perhaps the key to success when you approach a change of corporate culture or simply want to accelerate its transformation lies in the COMMUNICATION and COHERENCE.
It is necessary to explain, re-explain and explain again. what we are doing and why we are doing it. Explain it at all levels and that, in turn, all of us, and especially the people who manage teams, should be able to explain it to theirs, as many times as necessary.
We must be consistent. The decisions we make have to be in line with what we communicate. For example, we are fully aware that sustained high performance in the long term can only be achieved if you are happy with what you do, if you feel good at work, physically, personally, emotionally… and we are working to make this happen, with an ambitious wellness plan that has led us to promote mindfulness, work on stress management… among other things.
High performance and efficiency have little to do with the old culture of presenceTherefore, we are taking very visible and clear steps to eradicate it, the same with flexibility, with diversity … but you could almost better see for yourselves, from the hand of the colleagues of betevé in a report a couple of weeks ago //beteve.cat/clip/vrd110717reportatge/.
If you add the time variable to communication and consistency in actions, moving towards a solid corporate culture in which people make the difference is more than feasible.
Alberto Martínez Sanguino – HR Director Schneider Electric
Find out more at the fourth edition of the
Work World Innovation (WWi) Summit,
to be held on October 5 and 6 in Barcelona. The event will showcase real success stories of national and international companies that are committed to Open Innovation and the transformation of Organizational Culture. This is the case of Leroy Merlin, Axa, Schneider Electric or Ibercaja, among others. More info and registration at:
The entry What adjectives describe your organization? Corporate culture was first published in World Work Innovation Barcelona.