Most will agree, this is a tough time of year on multiple fronts. It’s almost the end of summer, and many are returning from what may have been their first family vacation in well over a year. Recent unsettling world events and back to school preparations are creating angst and frustration across the globe, as leaders and parents grapple with updated concerns and changing rules. And the rise in positive COVID cases is bringing renewed fears and frustration over a worldwide nightmare that was supposed to be shrinking much further by now.

In trying times like these, it is vital to focus on organizational culture: core values, fundamentals, and priorities.

Organizational Culture is a Business Fundamental

Just over a year ago, the retail world, along with most of the globe, was hit hard with closures, unemployment, and uncertain futures. Throughout the constant disruptions, and along with providing clients direction in omnichannel and enhanced customer service capabilities, Parker Avery’s advice was simple: a strong foundation requires keen focus on business fundamentals.

Regardless of a company’s size or history, much of this comes down to organizational culture. Questions such as, “What does the team believe in?” “What is important?” and “What is simply understood as a fact about the company?” These answers underpin a company’s organizational culture and go far beyond what is on the website, updated on the DE&I policy, or posted on LinkedIn.

Culture adjectives can be very positive: supportive, collaborative, teamwork, resilient. They can also be quite negative: defensive, lack of accountability, hostile, siloed, non-communicative. However organizational culture is clearest from a company’s actions. It is evident by how a company handles success as well as failure. Culture is also demonstrated by what the team is comfortable sharing, as well as the ability to let team members openly speak their minds.

Organizational Culture is Vital to Transformation

Parker Avery addresses organizational culture quite often in our transformational project work. We focus on helping leaders understand the required changes for their teams, as well as what leaders need to do to foster changes that drive cohesive organizational cultures. Focus on culture and potential needs for change may require critical self-reflection for leaders, but the implications and value can be enormous.

Organizational Culture has Power

Thus far, we are grateful that 2021 has been a busy and successful year for The Parker Avery Group. Last year was a completely different story. Yet in 2020 we strengthened internally as a team, we grew (both in size and in core strength), and we did so when our business was at its lowest. I think our team fundamentally leaned on our strong organizational culture to see us through some pretty dark days.

I didn’t initially comprehend the power of the Peter Drucker quote “Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” until realizing that while strategy is important, the power of organizational culture is truly the key to success.

As we head into what is shaping up to be a tumultuous autumn and 2021 holiday season, we wish you and your organization much success. If you have any questions or thoughts about your own company’s organizational culture, we would love to hear from you.

— Clay Parnell

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