Because change is an inescapable reality of our world today, and because company culture is so seldom a consciously considered and managed factor in change management, you might think change itself is to blame for your company’s ailing culture. But there are less obvious culprits; factors that can cause cultural decay regardless of whether an organisation is undergoing major change or not.



Misaligned leadership can destroy an organisation’s culture. When leaders set the example for company values, brand-aligned behaviour and cultural practices that live up to the organisation’s promises, the company will thrive. But sometimes your top performers or senior management are forgiven for ‘bad behaviour’ that contradicts the company’s desired culture, simply because they are top performers or have seniority. Line management is the single most important factor in people’s engagement at work and company retention rates. So when your leaders aren’t living the values, your culture suffers.



Rapidly changing technology puts companies under huge pressure to stay up to date, and those that leverage new technology most effectively see great benefits. New systems in themselves can’t make or break a culture. But they can kill a culture when not enough attention is paid to how they will change the way people work, and to helping people understand the connection between these changes and the culture of the organisation. Considering the impact of a new system on culture can make all the difference to whether that culture stays healthy or not.



Outdated policies can stunt a culture’s growth and development. As change is implemented in organisations, some culture shifts are expected and may even be part of the reason for the change. But if the keepers of the policies, such as human resources, are left out of the change management process or do not consider it urgent to ensure their policies align to the new way of doing things, they can end up undermining organisational culture.



This is always the bottom line. Clear, consistent and contextually appropriate messaging must be communicated across an organisation for a culture to remain healthy and supportive of the organisation’s market positioning and goals. If the formally disseminated internal communications align with the day-to-day messaging leaders share with their teams, your company’s culture should thrive.

Posted by:Elaine Porter

I am a strategic business consultant who is passionate about helping companies match their insides to their outsides. In other words, I believe that an authentic business is a successful one. This means aligning internal and external marketing and communications activity with the company’s culture, or vice versa.