Mapping Your Authentic, Effective Corporate Culture

Successful organizations, if they are to remain successful in the 21st century, must attempt to function holistically. The term "holistic" implies a systematic interdependency of each part contributing to the healthy functioning of the whole. In the business context, all "stakeholders" need to derive a significant benefit through their participation. The Integrity Cycle identifies three key, traditional parties of a business:  1) customers 2) employees, and 3) company ownership.

At the center of a healthy, thriving organization are universal Core Values, that lend purposefulness, guidance, and fundamental direction, to all of the organization's activity. Once an organization succeeds in identifying and "owning" its Core Values, at all levels, these in turn, begin to "drive" the entire organization. Core Values need to be emotionally felt, i.e., consistently experienced, at every level of interaction within the organization. Ideally, a company's Core Values will be jointly identified by its "key players," stemming from the organization's management and over-all employee bases.

The organization's purpose, operational philosophy, divisional/departmental goals and strategies are developed relative to the company’s Core Values. These, in turn (as the “Cycle” turns clockwise) determine the organization's style of management. For example, if a company elects to have Trust and Service with Presence as two fundamental Core Values, these must be universally identified, owned and, consequently, impact all interactions at every level of the company's enterprise. Employees and customers alike must perceive, i.e., feel, these core values consistently in their respective experiences with the company. Management's behavior impacts employees' perception and behavior respectively. Service with Presence and Trust must be experienced authentically and relentlessly, for example, in the company's leadership style, its employee orientation and training approach, working conditions, the company's career opportunities and reward systems. However employees experience, i.e., perceive the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of the company's Core Values, so will they, in turn, reflect it in their behavior, i.e., their service or product delivery.

Consequently, this behavior impacts the often predictable "moments of truth." Services or products are either consistently (or haphazardly) delivered with quality and dependability. These moments of truth, in turn, determine the customer's behavior. The savvy customer expects to receive quality, consistently. Again, when consistent quality is perceived (which greatly impacts feelings, i.e., emotions). the customer comes back for more. When consistency is compromised, for whatever reason, the customer seeks gratification elsewhere. It is therefore imperative for the organization to subscribe to a system that assures continual improvement (measurement, analysis, etc.).

The Integrity Cycle, when applied systematically, like a vehicle's wheel in motion, assures a business of movement toward consistent quality service and product delivery.

* As we embark into the third millennium, it becomes increasingly clearer that even the environment, if it is to sustain us, as well as the local and global community, need to benefit from the business' enterprise. In other words, all relevant parties of the business need to "profit" from the enterprise.

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