Aligning Culture and Strategy


Creating the Right Culture

Developing the right business culture is inherently linked with achieving your goals. It is difficult to get the best from your team if they have not adopted the culture you want for your business. In turn, your team will find it hard to help you meet your business goals if the right culture is not in place.

Aligning Your Culture

The diagram shows the areas you need to consider to ensure your culture is aligned with your strategy.

Step 1: Define your key strategic pillars/value

We have shown four ‘generic’ examples of key strategic pillars/values but you must decide the specific values you want your staff to demonstrate. How do you want them to approach customers? How do you want customers to feel about your business and its staff?

Step 2: Define the knowledge, behaviours and skills

The second step is to be clear about the competencies (knowledge, behaviours and skills) your team need to demonstrate to achieve your strategic goals and values.  Once you have defined these for each role you need to ensure all your staff are clear about what is expected of them, what they need to do to improve and what support is available. Clearly defined role expectations will set out how they are required to perform their role, while the competency model will show them their current skill levels and what they will need to evidence in order to progress.

Step 3: Key culture drivers

These are the areas of your business that will drive your culture, but all rely on having the right competency model. You will need to consider the following and understand what impact they have on your business culture:

  • Recruitment and selection (employing the right people)
  • Training and Development (provide the right training and support)
  • Coaching (regular support from Manager or experienced colleagues)
  • Performance Review (How will you evidence performance? How will you manage underperformance?)
  • Reward and Recognition (how will you reward exceptional performance)

Developing a Competency Framework

  • A competency framework is needed to deliver a value based growth strategy and to improve capability across the organisation.
  • If behaviours, skills and knowledge are clearly defined and embedded, the results will come.
    • You need to define what ‘outstanding’ looks like for each role – what are the top performers doing day-to-day to deliver outstanding results?
    • Can these individuals articulate why they are successful? Powerful definitions of what ‘good’ looks like are required to ensure consistently high performance.
  • A clear map of competencies will aid identification of development needs and allow ‘tailored’ training to be delivered

Key Characteristics

  • The process starts by deciding on the explicit dimensions to be incorporated into the model for each job role.  It is critical that these dimensions be specific to your growth strategy and aligned with your overall strategic goals.
  • Competency dimensions for each role should be limited in number.  More than eight may result in the diluted focus on the most critical knowledge, behaviours and skills.
  • You need to create a clear, objective and specific picture of the knowledge, behaviours and skills for each dimension along a continuum or scale.  Effective descriptions for each will allow managers and individuals to accurately assess current capabilities and understand specific requirements for reaching the next level.

Critical Success Factors/Risks

  • Competencies must be measurable via the provision of evidence or observations by a Manager.  Set benchmarks as to the amount of evidence required before being deemed competent and provide the mechanism for recording.
  • Prepare Managers and all staff to prioritise specific development skills.
  • Managers must ‘buy-in’ to the process.  The framework will allow them to assess capability and performance and therefore get required results.
  • By evaluating direct reports against the framework, Managers will become well versed in the strategic expectations, and internal language will change.
  • Good system required for competency framework to allow team members and Managers to view a dashboard of current capabilities, development needs and recommended training, any training & CPD completed, a record of all coaching conversations, evidence and observation records.
  • Provide Managers with the tools and skills required to develop and coach their team.
  • Different training solutions required for different learning styles and access limitations (workshops, e-learning modules, recommended reading, seminars, coaching, etc.)


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