5 Steps to Establish a Culture Program

In July, we talked about Establishing a Culture of Performance. Since then, we’ve been asked for the key steps to truly affect change within an organization.

Once we know where we want to go and who we want to be, how do we deliberately set out to get there?

Here are the 5 steps to help you establish a Culture Program that’s right for you.

  1. Define Culture

When everyone has a more concrete understanding of the term, they can begin to see the steps needed to create an ideal culture.

  •  Basic definition: Rules (mostly unwritten) about what is acceptable and how things get done in an organization
  • Text definition: A set of key values, assumptions, understandings and norms that are shared by members of an organization and taught to new members.

Example attributes of a culture: cooperation, consideration, fairness, equality, autonomy, responsiveness, risk-taking, diligence, obedience, order, formality, and competitiveness.

  1. Create a Baseline

Survey employees to see where there are opportunities to improve the culture. You may want to begin with informal meetings with groups of employees because this may reveal common issues that you can focus on n the survey.

  1. Develop a Plan

Create a plan to improve our culture based on the insight provided by the employee meetings and survey. Here are questions that can help start the planning process.

  • What do we want to change?
  • How do we change it?
  • Who will do what?
  • What is the timeline?
  • How will we measure results?
  1. Implementation

Put the plan into action and check on the progress often. It’s ok if you need to make modifications on the fly. Just be sure you don’t lose sight of the overall goal.

  1. Evaluation

Conduct a second round of employee surveys and/or meetings to see how what has improved and to identify the new priorities for the action plan.

Blue thin line

© 2014 Jessica Walter, MS, APR
All content provided here is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of any organization with which the author is involved. Although the author makes an extensive effort to provide a complete representation of facts, there may additional helpful information provided by other sources. Whenever researching your own situation or devising a strategy, it is recommended to gather information from many sources. The author sincerely hopes that you find this information helpful and urges you to be inspired, to inspire others, and to be gentle with yourself as you continue on your path.
About the Author
Jessica Walter is a Communications Strategist with a passion for inspiring companies to live into their full potential.  She’s found that the essential equation for long-term success includes Marketing, Culture, and Leader Development.
Jessica has been a marketing executive for a regional bank, a communications director for a health system, a public affairs officer for a Dept. of Defense command, and the assignment editor for a TV newsroom.
She holds a master’s degree in Leadership & Business Ethics from Duquesne University, a bachelor’s in Mass Communication from Towson University, and the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) from the Universal Accreditation Board. She is also a Certified Lean Systems Leader.
You can reach her at jessica.walter.apr@gmail.com.

Published by Jessica Walter, MS, APR

Speaker, Consultant, and Certified Leadership Coach

2 thoughts on “5 Steps to Establish a Culture Program

    1. That’s an excellent question, and I would say both.

      It has to be nurtured — tended to in a deliberate manner — in order to be sustained.

      However, I think it can develop organically based on the individuals in the group. If they all have a natural tendency to be service oriented, friendly, compassionate, etc, the culture evolves on it’s own and can include those qualities.

      Yet, I could see the value in a counterpoint that even that is nurturing. Hiring those individuals with those specific qualities because it was clear that those characteristics would fit in with the intended culture could indeed be deliberate and strategic.

      I’m very interested in your answer, though. You are a worldwide speaker on this very topic, so I’d love to hear your thoughts.


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