What is an organizational environment and how does it impact business? How do culture and climate contribute to its development?
Culture and climate are related and intertwined, though not the same thing. Culture brings us back to the roots of the organization. Why does it exist? What is its purpose? What are its guiding principles, espoused beliefs, underlying assumptions? What is the organization’s mission and vision? The answers to these questions form the building blocks of the organization's culture and serve as a map or blueprint for the organization and its leaders.
Leaders develop a work climate within their teams or departments that establishes how they interact with their employees, and how their employees interact with others. How are problems and setbacks dealt with? Does the team rally to support each other and develop solutions or do leaders and their teams blame others? Do people feel they are valued? These answers generally tell you what kind of climate a small team or department has.
When we put these two pieces together, culture and climate, we build the organizational environment; the space in which we operate. This organizational environment will either be a catalyst for greatness or the downfall of an organization.
The obvious question is how do we build an organizational environment that serves as a catalyst for success? I wish this issue had an easy solution. The truth is, like so many things in life, it depends on many factors.
I freely admit that I do not have all the answers. However, we have been rather successful at Crosskey Architects, LLC in developing and refining the foundation of our organization. This has allowed us to create an organizational environment that serves as a catalyst not only for the business, but for all of the members of our team.
How did we do it….
- We wrote it down.
- We talk about it all the time.
- We found our organization purpose, our Why.
- We make decisions based on it.
- We developed a clear mission and vision.
- We wrote it down.
- We shared it with our team.
- We identified our guiding values and principles.
- We wrote them down.
- We shared them with the team.
- We have tough conversations.
- We get input from all levels of the organization.
- We focus on Our People.
- We developed a healthy organizational environment for our people to excel in!
So What…I often ask myself if this stuff just sounds good or if it is really working. The answer is, it’s working. As most of you know, we just moved into a new space in downtown Hartford. While the leadership team had input into the design of the space, one of our very talented job captains led the design effort. By simply understanding the organizational environment the firm has built, our designer was able to embody that environment in the design.
Three key points of our purpose statement are, “To inspire people, to transform communities, to preserve our cultural past…” Our new space or our physical environment and our organizational environment are now fully tied together. As I walk into my office now, I am Inspired, I know we are working hard to Transform communities, and I can see how we have Preserved this historic space.
From my vantage point I would challenge you to look at the culture and climate in your organization. What type of environment are your people operating in? How can you and your team affect it. How does your office or the furniture in your office impact these things? Ask these questions. Have tough conversations with your leadership teams and your employees. Move towards becoming a purpose focused organization.
Having gone down this path with our team, I can only say it has been worth it. Every day is full of excitement and new challenges. The team is prepared for “what’s next,” and we can’t wait to continue inspiring people, transforming communities, and preserving our cultural past.