Traditional views of organizational culture have one thing in common; they define culture from the inside out – who we are, what we do and how we do it. In this article, the authors suggest that a more robust and practical approach to leveraging culture is to identify and shape culture from the outside in.
They define culture as “what we want to be known for by our best customers made real to our employees through systemic processes every day.” With a practical process, the article outlines four straightforward steps to create culture from the outside in. They are: clarify a compelling strategy to identify target customers; create a unity of identity; make that identity real for customers; and make that identity real for employees.
The paper reiterates that a more robust and impactful approach to leveraging culture is by defining and shaping it from the outside in. When leaders follow the four steps outlined above, they will define the right, customer‐centric culture. In a volatile world of speed and change, customers must be the foundation of organizational culture.
The authors conclude that in a volatile world of speed and change, organizations build winning cultures when their culture efforts begin with customers, then shift to employee behaviors and organizational processes.
Ulrich, D., Allen, J., Smallwood, N., Brockbank, W. and Younger, J. (2009), "Building culture from the outside in", Strategic HR Review, Vol. 8 No. 6, pp. 20-27. https://doi.org/10.1108/14754390910990955
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