An organization's culture is a deeply embedded set of values and beliefs that determine, to a great extent, how individual employees react to various situations.

But if a company's culture does not promote merit and efficiency, it can prove to be a drag on business performance.
The organization's culture also needs to change and adapt itself to the evolving needs of stakeholders, How can an organization develop and maintain a high-performance culture that will motivate employees to carry out their work in the most effective and productive manner?

These are some of the steps that corporate leaders could take to steer their organizations in the right direction.

Understand the existing culture

How is the organization currently functioning? What drives a particular sort of behavior? It is essential to understand the factors that trigger the different practices that are prevalent.

"That's how it is done around here," could be a common refrain. But if a company's leadership wants to bring about change, it will have to try and understand the reasoning for employees adopting a particular form of conduct.

Consider taking outside help

An expert on the subject has probably seen dozens of companies where the entrenched culture was proving to be a drag on productivity and performance. Using the services of such a person would give an organization the advantage of the experience gained by other businesses.

Every company has its own unwritten set of rules and norms. Additionally, there are wide variations between different industries. But a consultant specializing on the subject of corporate culture can add great value by providing a roadmap for the changes to be made and the best way to implement them.

Will a top-down approach work?

It is up to a company's CEO and the other members of the top leadership team to determine which aspects of organizational culture need to be altered. They can do this after gaining deep insights into how existing procedures work and which are the specific areas that need to be changed.

The change process itself cannot be implemented by just issuing a memo or asking division heads to carry out a set of instructions.
What is required is that at every opportunity, leaders should demonstrate their acceptance and active promotion of the changed culture to be implemented. For example, a company could have a culture where every meeting is conducted in a dictatorial fashion and participants are discouraged from saying anything that questions organizational policies and practices.

The CEO could realize that innovation and new ideas are being stifled because employees are prevented from speaking frankly. The best way to bring about a change is to ensure that the top management team alters the manner in which it conducts meetings. Employees should be allowed to speak freely without fear of being reprimanded. If this is consistently done, the existing practice in the company could undergo a change.

Acceptance by employees is essential

If senior leadership is able to mold the organizational culture to support corporate objectives, it will see enhanced employee engagement and an improvement in business performance. But to achieve this objective, staff members will have to be convinced that unless these changes are incorporated into their daily routine, the company would find it difficult to meet the objectives of its stakeholders.

It is a difficult task to change a corporate culture that has been years or even decades in the making. It is the duty of top management to make a determined effort to do this. The alternative is simply too risky.