The problem: A confluence of factors, among them changing market conditions, a labor shortage, and remote and hybrid work, are creating fears among leaders that they are losing their corporate cultures.
Why it matters: Two-thirds of the World’s Most Admired Company (WMAC) executives say culture is responsible for upwards of 30% of a company’s market value.
The solution: Provide clarity on cultural objectives, get leadership buy-in, measure and assess performance, and promote and develop the right talent.
For almost as long as its been in existence, The Coca-Cola Company’s mission has been to “refresh the world”—and it meant that quite literally. But in 2019, as the company’s leaders began noticing that the needs and expectations of its customers, employees, and investors were shifting, its purpose took on new meaning. If Coca-Cola wanted to refresh the modern world, it needed to expand the definition to include mind, body, and spirit of the people, communities, and stakeholders it serves.
“It was very serendipitous that we launched our new purpose just before the pandemic,” says Lisa Chang, Senior Vice President and Global Chief People Officer at The Coca-Cola Company. “It really became the backbone of how we led through the crisis.” Moreover, many of the cultural touchstones underlying Coke’s purpose—collaboration, customer focus, agility—are also responsible for its success amid the shift to remote and hybrid work.
A confluence of factors, among them changing market conditions, a labor shortage, and remote and hybrid work, are creating fears among leaders that they are losing their corporate cultures. Numerous studies show rebuilding or restoring culture among the top reasons cited by leaders for wanting workers back in the office, for instance. But companies like Coca-Cola and Johnson & Johnson have not only been able to maintain, but also strengthen their cultures amid the current turmoil. Indeed, these companies, like other WMACs, are able to thrive in the new business landscape precisely because of their respective cultures. At Johnson & Johnson, for instance, values like people first focus, accountability, inclusivity and innovation are embedded in its Credo, an 80-year-old document that Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Peter Fasolo says is as relevant today as when it was written. “Companies with strong cultural characteristics find that those capabilities instinctually kick into gear when needed most,” says Fasolo.