Defining an Ideal Culture: A Values-Based Framework

In my last post, I shared my observations and research evidence into why leaders should prioritize culture. In brief, a tradition that fosters and leverages collective intelligence (CI) creates improved outcomes for the agency and contributes to an inclusive atmosphere for a cognitively various group.

Consciousness of the advantages, whereas important, is barely step one, nonetheless. Motion and dedication should comply with. Accordingly, the main focus right here shifts from the why to the how.

A agency’s tradition displays how its group members work and work together and the behaviors that the agency holistically values or tolerates. Whether or not deliberately cultivated or not, agency values are revealed in its tradition. Greatest follow, subsequently, is to be express about desired behaviors.

Leaders should outline the tradition the agency aspires to construct. No common “best” tradition exists. Companies are distinctive and various, and their cultures ought to match their mission, technique, and management values. Defining a tradition from scratch will be daunting.

A values-based framework might help establish and make clear the agency’s best tradition. Leaders specify the values the agency prizes most in addition to the “anti-values” that needs to be averted. Paradoxically, by describing our anti-values — the behaviors we don’t need — we frequently achieve perception into these we search.

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A particular worth or set of values doesn’t essentially outline a tradition. Even when companies share the identical precedence — say, unlocking the advantages of cognitive diversity — many different values can express and contribute to this outcome. The key is to select a set of values that individually and collectively represents the preferred culture.

At Research Affiliates, we have now created and sustained a tradition that promotes belief and respect, one the place unbiased — and infrequently dissenting — views can flourish. Our core values are curiosity, authenticity, collaboration, and duty. Our anti-values are blaming, committing to be proper, withholding, and lack of belief. Our surroundings promotes each increased CI and higher outcomes.

After all, itemizing values and anti-values alone doesn’t set up our best tradition. To keep away from ambiguity and create alignment, we describe the specified behaviors that foster every worth or reduce its anti-value. We categorical these in concrete phrases. Tangible behaviors that exhibit curiosity, for instance, embrace emphasizing studying, difficult standard considering, being open to unbiased views, and discouraging groupthink among the many group.

We take this a step additional by distilling the specified behaviors related to every worth into quick and actionable statements:

  • Accountability: We personal our actions and resolve issues.
  • Curiosity: We emphasize studying, search suggestions, and welcome unbiased views.
  • Authenticity: We reveal our intentions, converse candidly, and honor our phrase.
  • Collaboration: We create shared success by partnering with colleagues and shoppers.

Many behaviors can impede the creation of high-performing groups. These are sometimes unintentional and should come up from inherent cognitive biases. For example, a group member with affirmation bias is dedicated to being proper. Highlighting undesirable behaviors in a clear and deliberate format might help them shift again to the specified habits.

At Research Affiliates, we affiliate the next counterproductive behaviors with our anti-values:

  • Blaming prevents accountability and initiative taking.
  • Committing to be proper dismisses dissenting opinions.
  • Withholding places private agendas above group goals.
  • Missing belief results in a aggressive, compete-to-win tradition.

Lastly, the core set of values ought to contribute collectively and holistically to the agency’s imaginative and prescient of a really perfect tradition. Do the values work together to create the specified tradition? Do the cultural norms encourage behaviors that help the tradition to which the agency aspires?

In abstract, the values-based framework might help leaders outline, make clear, and set up a agency’s desired tradition. However making certain that tradition endures requires sustained monitoring and deliberate dedication. We are able to’t merely set-it-and-forget-it.

So how can leaders nurture the specified tradition over time? That would be the topic of my subsequent piece.

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All posts are the opinion of the writer. As such, they shouldn’t be construed as funding recommendation, nor do the opinions expressed essentially replicate the views of CFA Institute or the writer’s employer.

Picture credit score: ©Getty Photographs/Elena Peremet

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Katrina Sherrerd, PhD, CFA

Katrina Sherrerd, PhD, CFA, is CEO of Analysis Associates. She can also be a member of the Analysis Associates board of administrators. Sherrerd manages the general operations and sources of the agency, the communication between board and senior administration, and the institution of long-range technique and coverage, which permit the agency to ship on its core mission of conducting cutting-edge analysis and advancing modern product growth for the good thing about buyers.

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