Unlocking Greatness: How Organizational Culture drives Excellence

By Rhea Primavera
June 10, 2024

This article is a collaboration with contributors from GRATEFULLY CREATING.

Author Jim Collins famously said, “Good is the enemy of great. Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline.” In today’s highly competitive business landscape, quotas, SMART goals, and OKRs will not cut it anymore. “Good enough” is not a strategy to get you where you want to go.

To truly thrive, organizations need to establish their culture that guides the collective behavior of the employees towards a shared vision. Building organizational culture cannot happen without intentionality and reinforcement. It may seem like a lot of effort, but it becomes the engine that drives innovation, employee engagement, and, ultimately, sustainable success.

What is organizational culture, and why does it matter?

There are many definitions of organizational culture, but we like how Gallup puts it, “culture simply comes down to how we do things around here.” Culture, therefore, is a shared sense of direction. And this must not stifle individual contributions but rather empower them. With a strong culture in place, you are enabling:


Employees can make decisions aligned to the company’s values in a healthy culture. They don’t need to be micromanaged into outcomes. Employees respond freely, pivot and can even be ahead of the curve.


When employees understand the mission, feel psychologically safe and supported, and their efforts are regularly recognized, they can take calculated risks and innovate. They become creative in problem-solving and fine-tuning operations.


Clear communication of the culture can help employees feel the connection of their work to the company’s vision. Employees with an affinity to the culture feel more engaged, motivated, and more likely to take ownership, which leads to a productive, satisfied workforce.

What got us here, won’t get us there: Growing in greatness

While we can’t expect this to grow overnight, we’ve rounded up some key strategies you can start to consider and implement:

  1. Clear Articulation of Desired Culture: Don’t leave it to chance. Articulate a specific vision for your workplace culture that supports your strategic goals. This could involve fostering collaboration, encouraging a healthy risk appetite, or prioritizing exceptional customer service. Communicate this vision clearly and consistently to everyone.
  2. Leadership Modeling: Leaders play a pivotal role in setting the cultural tone. Their actions speak louder than words. Ensure leaders consistently model the desired behaviors and champion the cultural values they aim to cultivate.
  3. Employee Development Aligned with Strategic Goals: Invest in employee development programs aligning with your goals and desired culture. Equipping employees with the necessary skills and knowledge empowers them to contribute effectively and embodies the cultural values you’re fostering.
  4. Rewarding the Right Moves: Recognition and reward systems are powerful tools for shaping behavior. Recognize and reward employees who consistently demonstrate the behaviors that support the desired culture. This reinforces the connection between individual actions and overall organizational success.
  5. Building Bridges, Not Walls: Focus on creating an inclusive culture that values, respects, and leverages the unique perspectives of all employees.Embrace diversity of thought, background, and experience.  
  6. Cultural Flexibility: Create a culture that embraces change and encourages experimentation. Empower employees to learn from challenges and adapt strategies quickly to seize unexpected opportunities.
  7. Cultural Change Management:  Conducting periodic organizational culture assessments to identify your current cultural landscape, assess its strengths and weaknesses, and monitor the effectiveness of your cultural alignment initiatives.

Setting course: The role of organizational culture assessments

To build the culture, an organization must understand the one it has and then create a reasonable plan of action. An organizational culture assessment:

  • Establishes a baseline: Assessments help in identifying the current corporate culture, its strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement
  • Identifies strengths and pain points: They enable organizations to tap into their strengths and mitigate challenges, unlocking performance potential
  • Monitoring behavioral changes: Assessments help monitor changes in behavior and ensure that they align with the desired culture
  • Creating a culture change plan: The insights from assessments can be used to create a culture change plan that addresses the most impactful cultural shifts

A healthy organizational culture promises so many benefits because it also requires conscious choice and discipline from all levels–this commitment sets great companies apart. Cultivating culture is an ongoing, ever-evolving journey. By embracing these strategies and acknowledging the importance of culture assessments, organizations can effectively align their culture with strategic goals, leading to enhanced performance and excellence. 

As a certified provider of both CultureTalk and Denison Organizational Culture assessments, Firesprings Consulting can help you choose the right assessment for your specific needs. CultureTalks uses Archetypes for uncovering  your organization’s shared values, team behaviors and leadership styles. While the Denison model focuses on four key drivers of high performing cultures : mission, adaptability, involvement, and consistency.

Get in touch with us to explore our culture assessments.