PM Articles by Project Times.
As a business leader, it’s important to recognize that improving the success rate of your projects means investing in the holistic strength of your company. One of the areas you should be focusing on in this regard is fostering a positive company culture.
Your company culture refers to how all members and aspects of your organization interact with one another. It usually involves a shared set of values and ethics, alongside customs and behaviors representing what is most important to everyone involved. A strong culture can directly impact your projects on a variety of levels.
In addition to explaining the importance of company culture, we’re going to dive deeper into how you can use this powerful force to help your projects succeed.
Why Is Culture Important?
So, how does culture impact the success of projects? Firstly, it’s a matter of engagement. When everyone feels connected and supported by shared values, they tend to be more motivated toward achieving goals based on those values. As such, there’s often a positive impact on key things that influence project success, such as productivity, innovation, and collaboration.
This is why it can be so important to provide your workers with clarity on how important and consistent the ethical, social, and environmental values are to your organization. They can carry these through to every task they perform within the project. The result is stronger projects in which all members are dedicated to achieving holistically positive outcomes.
One of the most important elements you must have in place concerning company culture is effective communication. Without solid communication practices in place, your business and projects are likely to suffer from missteps and misunderstandings. This isn’t just an issue when it comes to the practical running of the project. It can also lead to conflict within teams, which in turn disrupts productivity, progress, and motivation.
Therefore, it’s vital to incorporate the proper tools and protocols you need to make communication a central part of company culture. It’s important to ensure your staff has access to the communicative tools that can support collaborations. However, this doesn’t just mean providing all possible communications hardware and software. Too many tools can lead to chaos just as quickly as too few.
Rather, ensure you adopt communication platforms most appropriate to your organization’s needs. This could be setting up video conferencing and remote messaging platforms for projects taking place across multiple sites. Virtual whiteboards and cloud platforms can also keep all remote and cross-departmental team members communicating meaningfully during ideation processes.
Alongside the tools, part of incorporating communication into your culture is ensuring your staff understands both its importance and the techniques they can use to bolster it. Provide regular training on not only the technical application of communication tools but also soft communication skills. This should include active listening and conflict resolution discussion methods.
There’s no doubt that diverse contributors help your projects thrive. The varied perspectives, approaches, and life experiences of staff from different backgrounds can also help to drive innovation and financial success. Nevertheless, diversity in itself isn’t enough. You need to build a culture that actively ensures all team members feel comfortable, validated, and respected. This means you need to commit to the presence of diverse staff and building a culture of inclusion.
One of the most important aspects of this is ensuring your company maintains strict protocols to reduce discrimination in the workplace. Everyone needs to understand not just the more obvious acts of prejudice or discrimination, but also microaggressions in the workplace. Microaggressions can be intentional or unintentional behavioral, environmental, or verbal elements that create a toxic environment for those on the receiving end. Your culture must be one in which there are clear efforts to ensure everybody is educated on these issues and staff feel safe to speak about any problems – whether microaggressions or acts of outright hostility — they’ve experienced.
As with any element of company protocol relating to staff from marginalized backgrounds, your efforts here should be guided by representative individuals. Wherever possible, utilize consultants with relevant experiences in this area. Invite your staff to be part of the improvement process, though you shouldn’t treat them as a convenient diversity resource (a microaggression in and of itself). Essentially, try to boost the voices of those who are underrepresented, as this helps to show your actions are authentic, which in turn can support engagement with projects.
Consider your Environment
The design of the office space itself is a key influencer of the company culture. For instance, it’s difficult to maintain a culture predicated on openness and collaboration if all your team members are isolated within cubicles. The choices you make about office layout and decoration can impact productivity on projects, too. Having a combination of communal areas and individual seating gives your staff the flexibility to adopt working habits best suited to their changing needs. Even providing desks with plenty of storage solutions can support a culture that prioritizes solid organizational principles.
You should also pay attention to elements of the environment that reduce stress and improve well-being. After all, this is essential to building a culture of care for workers while also making certain they can perform at their best during projects. If your company is based in a city, make sure there is sufficient soundproofing. Place beneficial indoor plants around your workplace, as they can help improve air quality, worker health, and productivity.
Your projects are impacted by several aspects of your business operations, particularly the strength of your company culture. As such, it’s important to make improvements to foster a culture that directly influences your projects in positive ways. This should include committing to bolstering communication, meaningful inclusion, and establishing a supportive environment. As with any important change in business, this requires an investment of time, energy, and capital. But they can also empower your staff to usher your projects effectively toward success.