The return to office is in full swing, and company culture is on every leader’s mind as they roll out new onsite amenities and wellness programs to get people excited about being back at the office. But the focus on great perks is just one example of a misguided yet common approach to culture. For years, many leaders have approached culture in a fragmented way, focusing on perks and nebulous values without integrating them into the organizational system.
We asked Melissa Daimler, Chief Learning Officer of Udemy and author of ReCulturing, how leaders can take a systems approach to culture to connect with strategy and purpose for lasting success. Here’s what she shared.
Please describe your “systems approach” to culture and what it entails.
Systems thinking means seeing both the larger picture and the interconnected parts. Companies can be misled in viewing action on their own organizational culture by thinking they are taking system-level action when they just create a list of values or roll out training programs. The best organizations have a systems perspective of culture—they know that all the parts connect and work with each other. When gaps appear, they work to close them or reconnect them to a foundational part of the system. There could be a strong purpose that is not represented in the strategy. The strategy could be strong with no real connection to how that strategy will be executed effectively. When those connections are strong, both the business and employees succeed.