Daren Martin, PhD, The Culture Architect | Keynote Speaker | Author

Dr.Daren MartinDr. Daren Martin is the author of the bestselling A Company of Owners: Maximizing Employee Engagement, Whiteboard: Business Models That Inspire Action, Beached Whale: Learning to Swim in the New Ocean and The Sink.
Dr. Martin’s thought leadership and change strategies in transforming companies earned him the title The Culture Architect. Combining humor, thought-provoking content, and a dynamic and engaging presentation style, his transformational speaking has inspired audiences to action all over the world.
Dr. Martin ran his own business for 20 years and for the last 11 years has consulted for Fortune 200 companies, organizations, and small business owners from a wide range of industries. He has been in over 40 countries.

You can hear his business musings on his podcast The Daren Martin Show.

What does organizational culture mean to you?

Organizational Culture is the prevailing beliefs, behaviors, and core identity at an organization. Beliefs – what is important to us, what do we reward, what do we believe about our team, customers, products, processes and other aspects of our business. Behaviors – how do we actually act? Are our behaviors consistent with our stated beliefs? Core Identity – how do we view our company and what is our collective identity? The greater the gap between an organization stated culture (mission statements, website, values, etc) and the hidden culture (the way things actually are) the greater the dysfunction of the company.

What are the major determinants of organizational culture?

Organizational Culture happens by default or by design. High performing companies design their culture based on their desired outcomes. They create a company culture that maximizes the performance of the company, attracts and retains top talent, and creates a positive user experience for their business partners both in and outside the company.

Low performing companies pay little attention to their culture and let it happen by default. The result is an Organizational Culture that is cobbled together from bits and pieces of the collective personalities and behaviors of those in “control”. It ends up being a convoluted mess. I did some work with a company in which the managers ruled by screaming and yelling obscenities at people. Needless to say, performance was abysmal until we made a fundamental change in their structure and personnel.

What is the role of employees in organizational culture?

I have begun calling “employees” Business Partners because I believe it is a more accurate perception of today’s environment. Everyone at the company has an important role to play in supporting and sustaining the organizational culture. When organizational culture is the sole responsibility of a few people it is unlikely to produce consistent results.

What are the common problems associated with managing organizational culture?

The biggest issues I see are the following.
* Allowing poisonous employees and low performers to set the pace and tone of an organization.
* Creating friction through broken or outdated equipment and tools, bureaucratic processes, and inefficiencies that make it difficult for people to get work done.
* A silo mentality rather than an enterprise mentality. Different functions operate in isolation instead of in concert.
* The culture is not well defined and enforced creating confusion.

What are the ways to innovate company culture? Any best practices to share.

Carefully designing a high performing company culture. Measuring it frequently to assess if it is the reality and if it is producing the desired outcomes. Hiring and advancing people based on their adherence and reflection of the desired culture. Move decision making closest to the valve – meaning people are given decision making authority consistent with the responsibilities with which they are tasked. Treat people like owners and they are more likely to act like owners. Insist on communication at every level of the company. These are a few. I give many more in both A Company of Owners and Beached Whale: Learning to Swim in the New Ocean.

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