Culture happens, so create one you love

Recently, Akram Boutros, M.D., president and chief executive officer at The MetroHealth System, presented a keynote at Hyland’s inaugural Healthcare and Higher Education Executive Forum. His focus was on changing the culture of an enterprise, and he offered some valuable takeaways based on his journey while leading the positive culture transformation at MetroHealth.

Culture is a real thing

Culture is real. Culture is organic. Culture happens. Whether you want it to happen or not.

Because culture is organic, it can go in any direction – including places you may not even think it could go. With that said, you want to make sure it aligns with your organization, so be purposeful about it.

And since you’re creating it, why not build a culture you love?

Align and reinforce your beliefs

By definition, culture is a set of shared beliefs, values and practices. As an organization, you first have to determine your beliefs, your purpose. Once you align your beliefs, the next step is to reinforce them.

And you can’t pick and choose. If you ignore good acts that reinforce your beliefs, people will take that as a sign that you don’t care. If you permit bad acts, people will think that you’ve changed your mind.

For example, MetroHealth’s belief is that it is leading the way to healthier patients and healthier communities. The organization doesn’t tolerate any behavior that doesn’t align with that belief.

Align your values

Have you aligned your values with your beliefs? They should also align with your strategy, customers, current employees and the future.

To create a great culture, you should align your values with employees and not the other way around. You should assume that you have good people working for you. They just need the explicit roadmap.

Everyone on the same page

Culture can change over time, so periodically reassess your mission, vision and values to make sure they are explicit and clear. All employees – current and future – must understand and know your organization’s mission, vision and values. This is a pivot point. Once you’ve aligned your actions, make sure everything is explicit.

People seldom hear what you say … However, they watch what you do very carefully.

Culture is visible

Walk into an organization and listen, and watch. Organizational culture is in the language people use. Are they focused on the customers or themselves? Just listen. And look. Culture is in the dress and the food. It’s in traditions and rituals.

Think about what you need to go through and who you need to talk to in order to get things done. That’s part of your organization’s rituals. Culture is in the shared experiences.

Are employee experiences full of frustration because they can’t find what they need, when they need it? Or are your employees fulfilled because they’re chasing higher-value goals?

Cultural artifacts

How does this track with our culture at Hyland? I can tell you that every employee at Hyland has a laminated card featuring the company’s mission, vision and values on our ID badges. I think of these badges as cultural artifacts – they visibly remind everyone of our values, which creates and reinforces our culture.

As a new employee less than a year ago, I spent a portion of my first month here learning about what it means to be a Hylander – including our beliefs, our values, our rituals and traditions. We even have a dedicated hashtag to celebrate our culture: #HylandLife.

What strikes me the most is the language that I have heard in my tenure here. Our customer-first approach is ingrained in everything that we say and, most importantly, do.

Take a look around to see your organization’s culture. Remember … it happens whether you want it to or not, so make sure you’re proactive in aligning it to what you want your organization to stand for and the goals everyone is striving to accomplish – especially if one of those goals is to make the world healthier.

Laura Pegg

Laura Pegg

Laura M. Pegg is a public relations specialist at Hyland where she primarily supports healthcare, higher education and product. She has more than a decade of experience in public relations, corporate communications and public affairs. Laura earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations with concentrations in history and political science from Kent State University. She currently resides in downtown Cleveland where she is active in the DCA City Advocates Program and pursues her passions in photography, travel and culinary exploration.

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