Leveraging Culture

by. Mickie Lara

It comes up in almost every conversation we have with a new credit union: “We’re concerned about our culture.” “We think our culture is pretty good, but we’re not sure.” “Our people don’t really understand who we are and what makes us different.”

Smart organizations take the time to investigate these concerns, because culture impacts employees, members or customers, and ultimately financial performance. While an organization’s leadership is directly responsible for defining its culture, employees have to truly embrace and live it. When they do, it translates into better consumer experiences that build trust, loyalty and bottom line results.

There are several steps you can take to improve your internal culture. At Third Degree, we help our clients identify risks and opportunities by conducting an assessment based on the following four questions.

1. Are we listening to the marketplace? Strong cultures are adaptable. They encourage organizational learning, focus on the needs of consumers, and look for opportunities to create meaningful change.

2. Do we know where we are going? Without a vision and strategic intent, culture risks becoming little more than a work lifestyle. To make a bottom line impact, culture should serve the purpose of supporting an organization’s mission and goals. It’s important to make culture part of your organizational blueprint and understand its role.

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