3 Culture Conversations Every CEO Must Have With the Head of HR | Gartner

Leadership & Culture

There are aspects of an organizations’ culture that shifted during the pandemic and that will remain in a post-pandemic environment. And as firms align their workforce with the desired culture, this article submits CEOs must have three conversations with their CHROs; one conversation is on defining culture as a set of tensions, not attributes. Said differently, while it is common for a firm to (re)define its culture as attributes (e.g., collaboration or innovation), these individual attributes usually lack sufficient detail and confuse employees. Instead, leading firms focus on the intersection between attributes — identifying points of tension in the culture that arise because of conflicting values, stakeholders, objectives, or priorities (Fig. 4 on p.6). One example given is when an organization says it wants employees to be both innovative and rigorous; innovation requires employees to be comfortable with failure, but that is difficult if the organization only promotes employees who are rigorous to a fault and play it safe. At your next leadership meeting, spark a discussion on the points of tension in your firm’s culture and use it as a starting point to drive change.

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