THE BLOG
05/06/2013 01:14 pm ET Updated Jul 06, 2013

Organizing Your Organizational Culture

Similar to social media influencers, corporate managers influence employees in ways that affect behavior and motivate change. But a social media influencer cannot effect change without the right cultural environment, and managers cannot influence others without the proper organizational culture either. In a 2006 article published in the Academy of Management Journal, "Responding to Organizational Identity Threats: Exploring the Role of Organizational Culture," authors Davide Ravasi and Majken Schultz found that organizational culture is a set of shared mental assumptions which guide actions by defining appropriate behavior.

Our workplace cultures of today evolved out of the tribal cultures of yesterday. As humans we feel a strong urge to attach ourselves as part of a tribe and that pull continues into today's workplace. A culture includes values, visions, norms, jargon, systems, beliefs and work habits. These cultural mores and standards affect the way members of the organization interact with each other, customers, prospects and stakeholders.

In a 2010 presentation to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Kenneth Desson and Joseph Clouthier answered the question, "Organizational Culture - Why Does It Matter?" When individuals feel they are valued members of a team, the company can adapt to change, increase its competitiveness, and survive the harshest of economic swings. In a business with an unhealthy organizational culture, there is no overreaching standard of excellence so employees often act as individuals trying to achieve their own goals instead of those of the organization. An unhealthy organizational culture can result in the failure of the entire company, as seen in the culture of greed that overran Enron or the culture of indifference that has led to so many mining disasters.

To achieve competitiveness, productivity, efficiency and growth, managers need to work towards establishing a healthy organizational culture. But how can they influence the members of today's workforce to join together and move in a positive direction? Best-selling author and corporate strategist Stan Slap offers some solutions in his latest book, Bury My Heart at Conference Room B: The Unbeatable Impact of Truly Committed Managers.

Slap's management and training company is renowned for achieving maximum commitment in manager, employee and customer cultures -- the three groups that decide the success of any business. When these groups form as cultures in a company, they are far more self-protective, far more intelligent and far more resistant to standard methods of corporate influence. Not only have they revolutionized over 200 companies, Slap's team developed a plan that allowed Oracle to sell their strategic intent to 167 countries, and was also voted one of the ten most important things to happen to Warner Music Group for helping to grow their most profitable division by over 300 percent over three years.

Rackspace credited their move from 75th to 34th on the Fortune Best Places to Work report to the fact that "Rackspace culture connects Rackers with the mission in a way that is meaningful for them and aligned with their values." Beth Comstock, chief executive officer at NBC Digital Media (formerly chief marketing officer at General Electric) said, "I wish we'd had Stan Slap at GE during our branding efforts."

In the book Slap focuses on the importance of commitment and emotion to building an effective organizational culture. Managers are not only shown how to sharpen their management skills in order to influence others to achieve results, they also learn how to make their own jobs more fulfilling. Slap even shows readers how to sell it to themselves, their people and their company. If you're thinking about reorganizing your organization to be more effective, this is the book to read first.