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Strategy, Culture, Knowledge Management, Firm Performance: How Are They Linked?

StrategyDriven Corporate Cultures Article | Strategy, Culture, Knowledge Management, Firm Performance: How Are They Linked?
 
Organizational culture includes three dimensions of collaboration, trust and learning. The cultural aspect of learning is enhanced though providing further opportunities and information sharing. Executives can enhance knowledge sharing by providing access to knowledge, and stimulate new ideas and knowledge generation, transfer an individual’s knowledge to other members and departments, and improve knowledge capturing, storing, and accumulating, aiming at achieving organizational goals. Executives that employ corporate strategy can propel knowledge sharing in the company to generate more innovative ideas and solutions for new and demanding issues that come up constantly in our hypercompetitive economic environment. In doing this, executives can employ corporate strategy to share experiences gained by imitating, observing and practicing. Executives that use corporate strategy have found that it impacts learning culture through facilitating knowledge sharing throughout all levels of the organization. Corporate strategy focuses on defining and recognizing core knowledge areas, sharing organizational knowledge, and scanning for new knowledge to keep the quality of their product or services continuously improving. Therefore, corporate strategy is an essential requirement of learning culture by which knowledge is shared among people.

Further, executives have found that corporate culture impacts knowledge management. Particularly, the three cultural aspects of collaboration, trust and learning play a critical role in enhancing the effectiveness of knowledge management practices. For example, collaboration provides a shared understanding about the current issues and problems among employees, which helps to generate new ideas within organizations. Trust towards their leader’s decisions is a necessary precursor to create new knowledge. The key is for executives to inculcate a culture of trust and transparency of knowledge sharing within organizations so that informaton can be found and used instantaneously. Moreover, the amount of time spent learning is positively related with the amount of knowledge gained, shared, and implemented. Therefore, executives can reshape, and in some cases, manipulate corporate culture to facilitate knowledge management practices within departmental and business units of organizations.

Knowledge is shared and synthesized with an aim to providing higher quality products and services. This can improve firm performance in various metrics such as the customer focus, the quality of products and services, and the organizational revenue. Shared knowledge can contribute to the development of a learning organization in which people continuously grow and develop both personally and professionally. It enables organizations to actively respond to environmental changes through developing interactions and awareness from the external environment, which can in turn improve firm performance through increased sales, customer satisfaction, the quality of products and services. In fact, the key function of knowledge management is to help executives use it for employee development. In this context, training is becoming the forefront to success in large corporations worldwide. Why is this, you may ask? Because learning is a process that leads to acquiring new insights and knowledge, and potentially to correct sub-optimal or ineffective actions and behaviors that cause companies to spiral out of control. Ergo, corporate culture indirectly improves firm performance through disseminating and managing organizational knowledge that can play a crucial role in enhancing various firm metrics such as the quality of products and services and the organizational revenue.

StrategyDriven Corporate Cultures Article | Strategy, Culture, Knowledge Management, Firm Performance: How Are They Linked?In addition, executives that employ corporate strategy may enhance goal achievement. For example, corporate strategy can develop opportunities for human resources development within organizations, by assessing current situations. It has major effects on firm performance through focusing on analytical decision making process. Corporate strategy can also positively contribute to the efficiency of companies through helping companies to find better opportunities for investment that potentially leads to better financial performance for companies in terms of return on investment and profitability. Moreover, corporate strategy, which adopts basic studies to develop an effective and comprehensive vision for future, can enable companies to identify and actively response to the changes occurred in the external environment. Executives can, therefore, improve firm performance through embracing corporate strategy.

The figure provides a snapshot of how strategy, culture, knowledge management and firm performance are linked.


About the Author

Mostafa Sayyadi works with senior business leaders to effectively develop innovation in companies, and helps companies – from start-ups to the Fortune 100 – succeed by improving the effectiveness of their leaders. He is a business book author and a long-time contributor to HR.com, People + Strategy, Consulting Magazine and The Canadian Business Journal and his work has been featured in these top-flight business publications.

Top 5 Skills that Differentiate a Stellar Leader from a Mediocre One – Do You Have Them?

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article | Leadership Skills | Top 5 Skills that Differentiate a Stellar Leader from a Mediocre One – Do You Have Them?There was a time when the great thinkers of this world thought that we all come into being with a specific set of skills. These skills defined our lives and decided who we were going to be even before we’d have a chance of thinking about it.

This led to the idea that some people are born leaders, some are born musicians, and some are born without any special skills (aka the regular ones). Luckily, we know better by now, and even if a natural inclination is important, it’s the skills we acquire that make us who we are.

This means that we have talented people who chose not to develop their natural abilities, and we have determined people who choose to compensate by learning and being consistent.

Now, when it comes to leadership, not everyone is a natural at it. However, if you truly want to be a stellar leader, you can do so by refining your behavior and actions through training, education, and experience.
Today we’ll list the top 5 skills any true leader must have in order to rise above the average and make a difference in their field.

Communication & Empathy

You must be able to inspire the people in your team and the only way to do this is by communicating in a way that lets people know you understand and support their positions. As a leader, you are in charge of guiding the team towards new levels of success but there’s no way to do this without showing empathy and being a good listener.

Verbal communication is crucial in both one-on-one and group meetings, as it creates a strong bond between participants.

Luckily, most of us can learn to get better at communicating their thoughts and making other people feel heard and understood. Nowadays, we have access to a wide array of online business communication courses designed specifically for leadership and management positions.

However, empathy may be a bit more difficult to grasp if you’re not a natural empath. It can be learned, but it requires you to see the world through the eyes of another person, which can be confusing to master.

Integrity & Accountability

If you want people to be honest and work from a moral high ground, you need to be the leading example.

C.S. Lewis once said that “integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” If you invest more in your image than you do in your team and your behavior, things will start to crumble pretty fast.

A good leader must implement a solid foundation and allow team members to grow on their own path. This usually means putting your employees first and being appreciative of their time and efforts. After all, their success is yours as well.

Furthermore, a stellar leader will always support its team and share in both the blame and the success. They will hold themselves accountable for their actions, thus creating a sense of responsibility among team members and gaining their respect.

Resilience

When we talk about great leaders, like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Elon Musk, we only discuss their success stories. However, if we were to read their biographies, we’d learn that they had to overcome increasingly difficult conditions and situations.

Most people would have caved, given the same difficulties, but the stellar leaders of this world plowed through any wall that blocked their way. They had the vision and, even though there were many times of doubt, they never let their teams see this.

Wrap Up

While the skills mentioned above don’t talk about incredible talent or extreme intelligence, they can be difficult to master for most people. We’re not all great communicators and it can be difficult to maintain your integrity when things don’t go your way. Also, keeping yourself accountable and moving forward regardless of difficulties doesn’t sound like that much fun.

However, these are skills that toughen a person’s character, earn their peers’ respect and help create some of the most amazing leaders of our world (past, present, and future)!


About the Author

Oli is a working mum who has a passion for teaching and all things educational. With a background in marketing, Oli manages the digital channels and content at Courses.com.au.

Project Management Warning Flag 1 – Unfunded Activities

Project Management Warning Flag 1 - Unfunded Activities | unfunded activities | StrategyDriven Project Management ArticleManaging a project to an on-time, on-budget completion has become increasingly difficult in the ‘do more with less’ reality of today’s business world. But what many project managers fail to realize is that their project is doomed from the start. Activities associated with a project’s roll-out and needed organizational change management often go unscoped and unfunded because they don’t directly contribute to the creation of the produce or service being developed. The cost of these activities is very real in terms of personnel and financial resources and the project’s ultimate success relies on their performance.


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Tactical Execution Best Practice 1 – Priority System Alignment with Mission Goals

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Best Practice Article | priority system alignmentSeldom do leaders assign work to individuals based on the corporate goal of achieving something.


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In addition to receiving access to Tactical Execution Best Practice 1 – Priority System Alignment with Mission Goals, you’ll help advance your career and business programs through anytime, anywhere access to:

  • A sampling of dozens of Premium how-to documents across 7 business functions and 28 associated programs
  • 2,500+ Expert Contributor management and leadership articles
  • Expert advice provided via StrategyDriven’s Advisors Corner

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Additional Information

The following StrategyDriven recommended best practices can be used achieve the priority alignment discussed above:

Engagement in the Implementation of Strategic Intent

The Opportunity

Every day, I see businesses struggling to achieve high levels of long-term performance. Upon scrutiny I often find that they have – on paper – excellent and well thought out strategic plans. Their shortcomings are normally in the applications of the strategic plan and I find they usually fall into one of three areas; I call them gaps:

StrategyDriven Management and Leadership Article | Engagement in the Implementation of Strategic Intent

As they seek to improve on their year to year performance, I find many firms ardently working on the focus and alignment gap. Yet the improvement in their results do not seem to mirror their efforts – not at all. First, since the advent of Hoshin Kanri (HK) planning firms have found an excellent model to achieve focus and alignment both vertically and horizontally, throughout their entire firm. HK planning can be a very effective technique, even if not practiced fully as taught by Yoji Akao. Second, by any objective measure, the greatest opportunity to improve results is achieved by closing the Engagement Gap. Typical engagement levels across the US are in the 30% range and for manufacturing they are even lower, around 25%. Since most firms are in the 25-30% range and world class is 75% engagement, the gulf between what is typical and what is attainable is huge. The engagement gap is the target rich environment for improvement that firms need to exploit if they wish to attain long-term, strong performance.

StrategyDriven Management and Leadership Article | Engagement in the Implementation of Strategic Intent | Sustaining Workforce EngagementWhat Is The Engagement Profile?

Gallup has defined 3 categories of engagement: the “engaged”; the “not-engaged”; and the “actively disengaged”. The engaged are those people who are moving & shaking, making improvements, and genuinely care about what goes on at the business. This is around 30% of the entire work population. The “not-engaged” are doing what is necessary, they follow all the rules – but not much else. They are often working in a fog and seem to be sleep-walking their way through the day. They comprise around 52% of the work population. Then there are the “actively disengaged”. These are the people who might be fighting to stay on the payroll – or not. Regardless they are resistive, contrary and fighting the system at every turn in the road. They comprise 18% of the workforce.

Just What Is Engagement?

There are two commonly held management paradigms about engagement which are widely held, but unfortunately, they are both wrong:

  • Engagement is equal to hard working and
  • Engagement is a “worker thing”

Engaged workers have three very salient qualities. First, they are physically committed, so they are hard working. They have body commitment. Second, they are intellectually committed so they are actively working to make improvements to the process and the product. They have head commitment. Third, they are interested in the business and care that it succeeds. They have heart commitment. Being engaged in the workplace encompasses hard work but it goes well beyond that.

As for engagement being only a worker thing – as if the supervisors, managers and denizens of the C-suite were naturally engaged – is a myth. Although management engagement is somewhat higher, at 35% it is nowhere near world class levels. In most firms, there is ample improvement room for everyone.

What’s The Appropriate Response?

With your business in need of an infusion of “whatever it takes to succeed” you need look no further than improving your engagement. With 70% either not-engaged or actively disengaged, you clearly have a target rich environment. And just how do you capture that? The answer is technically simple but operationally has proven to be a major problem to many. To get employees engaged it is as simple as management making sure that all people:

1. Know what to do
2. Know how to do it
3. Have the resources to do it
And 4, that management focus on creating an environment where it is possible for people to perform.

Sounds Simple? Think You Are Already Doing This?

If you believe you and your firm are accomplishing this simple list of 4 items above, then why is your firm not attaining long-term, strong performance? If you take a cold, hard, dispassionate and introspective look at that deficiency, it is virtually impossible to not find needed improvement in one or more of the categories above.
Give the 4 items above your management attention and you’ll have not only a healthy, happy and productive workforce, but strong long-term performance as well.


About the Author

Lonnie Wilson is the author of Sustaining Workforce Engagement: How To Ensure Your Employees Are Healthy, Happy, And Productive and founder of Quality Consultants where clients include firms in manufacturing as well as the fields of education, healthcare and other service sectors. Quality Consultants serves small firms as well as Fortune 500 firms in North, South, Central America, and China.

For more information, please visit www.qc-ep.com.