Chief Culture Officer
Companies are focusing on new strategies to create and foster healthy cultures in the complex times following the recent recession. Many organizations have experienced macroeconomic pressures and regulations, which puts a dysfunctional strain on those organization’s cultures. These cultures don’t progress like they are intended to, and can actually hinder a company from progressing effectively. Organizations are experiencing pressures to add culture to all levels of their businesses, especially at the CEO level. Google found a solution to this problem, in that they created the position of “chief culture officer” to head of HR Stacy Sullivan’s job title in 2006. The job description requires her to constantly monitor organizational culture, and protect the key parts at its core. However, simply designating this job title is not enough to successfully manage organizational culture as seen through Google’s endeavors. One of the most common mistakes made by organizations is putting too much emphasis on the messaging of positive cultural practices and not enough on their action. It’s one thing for an organization to create this position, but it’s an entirely different issue to actually have that job perform effectively for a company. Once a culture is set in place, it becomes very difficult to change because the people who make up the organization are unknowingly supporting the current structures that are in place. Organizations and chief culture officers need to realize that it may take years for culture to change, and rushing the process could cause irreparable damage to the company. The successful chief culture officer will have close ties with top management, and at the same time will have a deep understanding of the employees that make up the company at all levels. A major misconception in organizations is the notion that culture can be controlled from the top down. Many major business leaders propose that organizations need to make a stronger, smarter effort in influencing their cultures, hiring a chief culture officer being one of these efforts. It’s almost impossible to set goals in this position, as culture is dynamic and constantly developing. Organizations should also keep in mind that not all culture change necessarily benefits the company. Still, the chief culture officer can attempt to make culture change through continuous processes and influences rather than radical changes. The emergence of positions like a chief culture officer will surely present new challenges to organizations, but it will also provide greater insight into culture than previously observed.