Seven Elements in Organizational Culture

Often I am asked by my clients to help strengthen or even change the culture of their company. Where do you start?

While there are many entry points for such an effort, it helps to have a model of organizational culture in mind. Such as this.

C = Customer, Commercial, Commitment, Conflict, Creativity, & Communication: The letter "C" carries the most weight in this model of organizational culture. Is there a clear bias toward the customer in all that you do? Do members have a high level of commercial awareness including how the Company makes money? Is there a high level of commitment to core values? Are conflicts resolved in a healthy way? Do members feel free to bring creative ideas to the table? Is there open and honest communication across all boundaries in the organization?

The C also stands for Change. Are the members of the organization "change ready?" Are they open to change? Are they adaptable?

U = Unified Effort: Every organization, from a "mom and pop" to a huge multi-national, is a team. And we know that a strong team has unified effort. Meaning that everyone is pulling in the same direction with a strong sense of purpose. What is the vision? What are the values? What is the strategy? Is there alignment throughout the organization?

L = Learning, Leadership & Listening: The letter "L" also carries a lot of weight. Is this a learning organization that continuously inquires, asking "How are we doing?" Are leaders coming from all corners of the organization? Are members taking the time to listen and learn from each other and from customers?

T = Teamwork and Trust: Do the members of the organization work well together? Part of teamwork is trust. Trust is a huge factor in an organization's culture and in its success. Is there a high level of integrity? Do people keep their commitments to one another? Do the members trust one another? their bosses? the company? Why or why not?

U = Understanding Differences: Every organization is a coming together of people and that means, by definition, differences of all kinds. Diversity therefore is a challenge! If the members hope to succeed, they must constantly work on relationships, building filaments of understanding that will comprise a sturdy interpersonal web.

R = Respect: Like trust, respect is a huge factor. Organizations are human endeavors that rise or fall based on the links between and among the members. Is there a high level of caring and mutual support? Is there a high level of mutual accountability where everyone "can be counted on" to do what they said they would do? Just as trust helps ensure success, so too does respect. Do the members feel respected? Do they respect each other?

E = Empowerment and Engagement
: Lastly the letter "E" points us to two powerful strategies for high performance. Empowerment means that the members are equipped, authorized, and supported to take initiative and do whatever it takes to serve customers and reach goals of the organization. And Engagement means that the members are energized with a sense of ownership toward the organization.

Thinking about assessing your company's culture? Wondering where to start? Go ahead. Use this model.

Better yet, call me at 732-715-8218 (or email at and I'll be happy to help you.

Posted on Tuesday July 2, 2013 by Terrence Seamon.


Ian Pratt said…
Thanks this is great, particularly the "C" it is very insightful and spot on
Ian Pratt said…
Thanks very insightful, I particularly like the "C"
Jacob Dabush said…
very nice article, thats point out the core aspects of our work, ai a very simple way.
Terrence Seamon said…
Thank you, Ian and Jacob. Glad you find value in it. Let me know how it helps you if you have the chance to use it.

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