Southwest Airlines stands as an example of a battle-tested company in which culture has been managed over time. Famous for its long-term success in an industry where even the largest players routinely fail, Southwest for 40 years has been energized by a deep sense of pride among all employees. Southwest has found that constructing an environment that puts its employees first — above customers and owners — fosters a sense of emotional commitment and pride that delivers excellent customer service. But at Southwest, the work on culture is never completed. Just as the airline’s strategy, tactics, and technologies have evolved to cope with a changing external environment, specific HR practices, including informal behaviors, have shifted over time.

Living in Your Culture

Although challenging, multidimensional, and often difficult to deal with, a company’s cultural situation constitutes a powerful set of emotional resources. As is the case with other resources — human, technological, financial — it is incumbent upon leaders to strive to get the most value out of it. To a degree, culture can be compared to natural forces such as winds and tides. These elements are there in the background, sometimes unnoticed, sometimes obvious. Endowed with immense power, they can waylay plans and inhibit progress. They can’t really be tamed or fundamentally altered. But if you respect them and understand how to make the most of them, if you work with them and tap into their hidden power, they can become a source of energy and provide powerful assistance. The best way to start is to ask yourself a series of questions. What are the most important emotional forces that determine what your people do? What few behavior changes would matter most in meeting strategic and operational imperatives? Who are the authentic informal leaders you can enlist? And what can you and your fellow senior leaders do differently to signal and reinforce those critical behaviors? Of course, you shouldn’t plan for dramatic results overnight. Expect an evolution, not a revolution. One of the challenges of working with culture is that, as we’ve noted, it changes gradually — often too slowly for leaders facing fast-moving competitors. That’s the bad news. The good news? If you approach culture with respect and intelligence, as a milieu in which you and your enterprise live, you can use it to accelerate your competitive momentum. There’s no better time than the present to start. source:https://www.strategy-business.com/feature/10-Principles-of-Organizational-Culture?gko=3e299&utm_source=itw&utm_medium=20170531&utm_campaign=resp