How To Bring An Organisation Together – 1 of 3
Re-affirmation – Create reminders of common identity
One of the questions we receive often is how to build a culture where people feel they are part of one cohesive unit. My first question in return: what are the visible signals in your organisation that communicate to people your shared values and goals? It’s simple: we often get lost in the trees of daily work, and fail to see the forest where we’re all working towards a common goal and share many of the same values. As leaders, we need to create reminders for people. As noted in “Artefacts and Organisations: Beyond Mere Symbolism,” by Anat Rafaeli and Michael G. Pratt, which explores organisational culture and identity, these reminders can range from physical artefacts (e.g., office design), to symbols (e.g., awards), to informal norms and routines (e.g., language, how you make decisions).
Whilst we try our best to impart to CEO’s and MD’s, the critical importance of the visual or ambient environment on building and maintaining an effective culture, only a handful will understand its true power, opting instead to dilute the effects with ‘lip service’ budget.
To bring people from diverse backgrounds and beliefs together, you need to create visible reminders of a common identity, where people genuinely believe that despite their differences they are, together, part of something special. Perception is reality and if folks aren’t constantly reminded of their common bond they will perceive, in the absence of any information to the contrary, that there isn’t one.
Additionally – keep the messaging fresh and regularly updated to re-affirm the collective connection or risk the consequences of your messaging becoming ‘corporate wallpaper’ and just blending into the background.