When it comes to law firm culture, we are big believers that it starts from the top.  If the leadership doesn’t establish the company culture and fully buy into it by living out its core values, there is little hope of building and maintaining a strong culture throughout the organization.  Lots of companies fail in this regard.  They set out to establish a positive workplace culture by picking a few aspirational words to put up in the break room, but they fail to use those values to make decisions about the business, to fuel the business’s growth.  Without that congruency, the “culture,” defined by aspirations, never has a chance to take hold of the organization.

A study by Deloitte on Core Beliefs and Culture – Chairman’s Survey Findings found that “there is a disconnect between organizations simply talking about their culture and those that are embedding their beliefs into their operations.”  From their bar graph results they illustrate a clear gap between executives’ views on workplace culture versus employee views.  Across many different statements reflecting their sense of workplace culture, the executives respond more favorably than the employees do, suggesting that the culture may not be as pervasive or organic as the executives believe it to be.

What if, instead of trying to define the organization by the culture it wants to be, it was simply defined by what it is?  Every organization has a culture, whether they realize it or not.  It might be a positive one, a negative one, or many things in between.  But it is always there, even if it isn’t defined.  I’m not advocating that if a company has a negative culture they are stuck with it, but rather that if we look deeply, there is something about each company that makes it unique.  Its top performers and leaders have at least a few qualities (values) in common.  If we are able to identify those values as they organically exist, and capture them in an understandable way, we can work to build a critical mass of team members that embody those values and live them out.  Taking this organic approach, as opposed to an aspirational approach, will not only lead to a stronger, authentic culture, but it will also lead to greater consistency amongst the perspectives of culture throughout the organization.  In other words, if the core values and culture are accurately defined and visible throughout the organization in everyday decision-making, what starts at the top doesn’t end there because employees are just as aligned with the culture as executives are.

About the Blog: Culture Counts is a blog devoted to the discussion of law firm culture and corporate core values.  Frequent topics include positive work environment, conscious capitalism, entrepreneurial management, positive workplace culture, workplace productivity, and corporate core values. 

About the Firm: Klemchuk LLP is an Intellectual Property (IP), Technology, Internet, and Business law firm located in Dallas, TX. The firm offers comprehensive legal services including litigation and enforcement of all forms of IP as well as registration and licensing of patents, trademarks, trade dress, and copyrights. The firm also provides a wide range of technology, Internet, e-commerce, and business services including business planning, formation, and financing, mergers and acquisitions, business litigation, data privacy, and domain name dispute resolution. Additional information about the IP law firm and its IP attorneys may be found at www.klemchuk.com.

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