After 20 years of corporate scandals, cover-ups and all the hype for “feel-good” stories about company cultures, a majority of executives say they believe that culture does matter.
Some senior leadership teams (SLTs) even say that their culture could be their most important strategic advantage and differentiator, rich with all the business benefits (e.g., attracting the best talent, higher retention, higher satisfaction, stronger Ex results, stronger Cx results, greater adaptability/velocity, more sustainable growth). Most of us can see ourselves as part of a more humanistic, more open, more understanding SLT compared to the previous command and control SLTs that came before us (especially compared to those that were recently in the headlines). Some of us are more evolved than others on the SLT (and that one CXO is still a real “piece of work”)… but still most of us are very committed to supporting the CHRO/CPO in creating a remarkable company culture. Our culture matters; we think our company has got it under control.
“Isn’t it pretty to think so?”
I meant that to be cynical, full of painful regret and sincere longing. I’m reflecting what I hear from CXOs that have been down the transformation road before. Like (the protagonist) Jake’s final line in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises … after reflecting on what could have been with his never-shall-be love, he reveals that he no longer clings to this beautiful mirage. Neither should we.
1) CHROS DON’T SPECIALIZE IN OR INTEND TO FOCUS ON CULTURE
Most CHROs/CPOs and even People & Culture positions (in general) do NOT/will NOT actually spend much time on culture. According to Gartner for HR, culture did not make the Top 5, of their 2020 Priorities for HR leaders — although it sounds like some are related subsets of culture or dependent on culture, I’m not seeing a clear prioritization of culture.