Shape the culture

5 Tips to Help CEOs Change and Improve Office Culture

CEOs can take active steps to shape the culture of their business into something powerful and ultimately successful. Find out the scoop right here.

In the corporate world, culture is a critical element in business success. For most leaders, it ranks second in level of importance only to a company’s actual business model.

Every organisation will develop a culture of some kind, but rather than simply allowing it to grow, CEOs can take active steps to shape the culture into something special. CEOs wanting to build a strong, successful organisation can create a culture that inspires its members to grow and excel.

Shape and inspire rather than dictate 

Most of us look to our leaders to pave the way for us and model the actions and behaviours that we should adopt. Therefore, the leadership of an organisation has such a profound effect on its culture.

CEOs can’t just create a list of rules about what the culture should be and then not follow the rules themselves. One way or another, culture always comes to represent the actual values and beliefs of leadership. If you want others to follow you, culture must be created authentically.

To inspire your team and motivate them to be more engaged with their work, take a look at your own performance. Are you working and behaving the way you want your team members to do? Remember, you are not a figurehead; you are a leader, so lead in the way you want others to follow. Use your influence to shape the culture you hope for.

Encourage creative problem solving 

When we think of creative problem solving, we tend to think of being able to eliminate those roadblocks that can slow down our processes. When we empower people to operate with more autonomy and greater authority, those bottlenecks are often removed and performance improves.

This type of creativity is necessary for innovation in every aspect of our businesses. Creative problem solving, however, isn’t just about improving efficiency by finding a new way of doing things. At a deeper level, it’s about your relationship with your people, and the level of trust you have built with them. If you want to connect at the human level rather than as leader, you can use creative problem solving as a tool. When you work with your teams in a creative and non-judgemental way, you show the human side of yourself. And if you want to influence people to adopt the behaviours you are modelling, you must have this human connection with them. Get creative together and show who you really are.

Talk about the culture you want 

So, your people are watching what you do and learning to do things the same way, but do they know why? Can they see what you see? The answer is probably no so one of the biggest things you can do to shape culture is talk about it. Discuss what you’d like to see in the organisation, and how it will benefit not just the business, but the people as well. This is a place they come to every day to work, so if they are expected to make changes, there must be something in it for them. Be open and talk freely about improving the culture together.

True empowerment is always backed up by resources 

Your company’s associates are paying full attention to you. They value what you value, and notice what actions you reward and punish. It’s not enough to say it’s okay to take risks when your performance metrics, pay and perks don’t reflect this.

If CEOs want to create cultures that promote efficiency, creativity and innovation, they must give their teams the resources that they need to perform well. To empower your team, you must first enable them to grow. Give them the nudge that they need, and help them to acquire new skills via training. Upgrade your software and other tools that are necessary to perform tasks well. Offer greater opportunities to cross-train in other departments and learn more about all your company’s operations.

By giving your teams an appropriate share of your organisation’s resources your actions show that you truly value the contribution made by this team member or department.

Be strong

It’s easy to talk about CEOs modelling the behaviours and attitudes they want to see their people adopt, but it’s not always so easy to do, especially if it requires a lot of change. As CEO, you need to be strong and maintain your position against criticism or resentment. Not everyone reacts well to change. Be prepared for some arguments and a lengthy delay before you start to see the results of your work. Creating and changing a culture isn’t something you can do alone.

You’ll need to hold yourself accountable for what you do, and make others accountable for themselves. Stay strong and keep the vision of the culture clear in your mind.

Changing and influencing organisational culture isn’t easy but with some assistance, CEOs can turn it into something dynamic and powerful.


If you would like guidance with cultural change, why not reach out to one of our mentors at Empowering Ambitious Women. And, don’t forget you can follow us on Instagram and Facebook for regular, helpful insights.

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I am a Mum, business founder, author and accomplished CEO with over 20 years’ experience in the corporate world. My childhood dream was to become a fighter pilot, but when that didn’t materialise, I found my place in the corporate world, climbing the sales and marketing ladder to my role as CEO of Cox & Kings Australia.

I'm the founder of Empowering Ambitious Women, I've led start-ups to companies with annual revenues from $55 million to more than $250 million. My role as CEO of Australia’s leading franchise network of professional builders saw me as a pioneer in the industry; as a female CEO leading a large franchise home building company.

I was formally recognised twice by the Telstra Business Women's Awards my achievements in business.

As a woman who became one of the 16% of female CEOs, and who has led in male-dominated industries, I’m passionate about creating pathways for women leaders to step up, take a seat at the table and own it.

I love; French champagne, socialising, dining out and having an impact...

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