The topic of organizational culture has been a hot topic for a good number of years and it seems to be getting hotter all the time. It has become very clear to me that culture must be designed and maintained with the understanding that it is part of a behavioral ecosystem.

Culture must consider all stakeholders that make up the ecosystem. These stakeholders include, investors/shareholders, customers/clients, employees, vendors, the community and regulators. This ecosystem may seem too broad to consider when defining culture but failing to consider any of the parts of the ecosystem and how they impact each other is a strategic error.

The leadership team, founder, owner or whoever is engaged in defining, changing or maintaining the culture must take a step back and see these diverse pieces of the ecosystem as part of a whole. The only way to do that is to view them from the standpoint of their various roles and how they interact. Each of these segments of the ecosystem is composed of people, that is their clear commonality. With this understanding in mind the crafters of the culture must start with defining their core values around these diverse groups of people.

Here is a possible way to look at your culture when seen as a behavioral ecosystem. When you are treating your employees, customers, vendors, communities and investors/shareholders right and operating within the rules your chances of success as an organization are very high. The big question then is how do you create values and ultimately a culture that allows all the members of the ecosystem to win? My only answer is you just decide to consider all the members and take the time to think through each of your values to assure that they are supportive of the ecosystem.

Once you have your values firmly in place they will provide the framework through which all your policies, rules, regulations and behaviors will be defined. This process when completed with all the details in place will support an environment where each member of the ecosystem will be rewarded for providing excellence.

Thinking of culture as a behavioral ecosystem is conceptually easy but taking it from a thought process to implementation and maintenance is much more challenging. Perhaps bridging this knowing-doing gap is the reason that a high performing culture is so challenging to define, implement and maintain. I’m glad to help. Charlie@thinkchange.co, (214) 869-6148

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