The OC Equation is a simple (not simplistic) formula that, if followed, will help ensure your organization can leverage its culture for a competitive advantage.  Simply put the OC Equation is:

Values + Philosophies x Actions = OC

As we discussed last week, your values, regardless of what’s posted on the wall, are what your organization rewards, promotes and let’s go. If those align, you’re doing something right. But if your actual values don’t align with what’s posted, it’s up to your leaders to realign the organization and reinforce the desired behaviors that will drive change, performance and profitability.

To make changes as substantial as these, stated values alone aren’t enough. If employees are to support and live your OC (“how things get done around here”) the values must be clearly articulated through philosophy statements and backed up with consistent actions that drive every decision (more about that later).

For example: Zappo’s Core value #8 is Do More with Less” – simple enough right? Wrong – what does that really mean to Zappos within the scope of their OC and how does it translate into employee behavior? Those questions are answered through their “Do More with Less” philosophy statement, which clarifies and articulates it’s meaning leaving little doubt what the expectations are.

HR Magazine’s April 2014 feature article Creating an Ethical Culturecites that 41% of US employees reported they observed unethical or illegal misconduct on the job. In an organization that values, tolerates or worse, encourages unethical behavior or misconduct, employees will either decide their behavior is ok, or if their personal values conflict with the organization’s values, they will leave. Either way, the organization is left with higher turnover, decreased performance and lower long term profitability.

However, when values, philosophies and actions are aligned, it creates an OC that drives a competitive advantage for your organization where employees are engaged, motivated, and productive.

What are your organization’s values? Do your employees know how they are expected to act to succeed in your OC? Do those expectations align with your stated values? Are their decision and actions creating and sustaining your competitive advantage?

– Cindy

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