You’re heading into a meeting at an external organization to discuss a potential merger. The glass elevator opens up to a handsome, low-lit reception room with leather furniture. You notice blazers, dress pants and expensive-looking watches on the professionals hurrying about. Something smells nice, flowery… You’re welcomed graciously into a board room with an impossibly large table. Sit down, enjoy a glass of sparkling water, and let us know if you need anything else while you wait. The Director of Business Development will be with you momentarily.
You’re on a call with a Cloud technology company to discuss what they can offer for your large business’ data storage and handling needs. The demeanor of the Chief of Sales on the other end is very friendly, unhurried. You feel like you can see his Sam up on a desk as he leans back in a blindingly white ergonomic swivel chair. Is that the sound of Mario Cart in the background? Was that the pop of a bottle cap opening? Well, it’s 5-o-clock somewhere… wait, no, Silicon Valley is three hours behind. Well, then. Yes… back to terabytes…
These two scenarios paint starkly different pictures of an organization’s environment and its people. They offer some food for thought. It can be tempting to jump to conclusions about a business based on observations, and oftentimes, you’ll guess right. Yet, in order to understand an organization’s true culture, it is important to not judge the book by its cover. You’ll grasp a fuller picture by considering a rainbow of aspects.
At a micro–level, the culture of an organization might impact the flexibility available to employees in a workday and the wardrobe expectation. It might be the office design and flow, and what’s in the vending machine. At a macro–level, it speaks to the nature of the business itself. As writers for the Harvard Business Review suggest in a 2018 issue of “The Culture Factor,” the business strategy is what “offers a formal logic for the company’s goals and orients people around them.” When positioned so, the corporate culture is what is embodied by employees’ shared goals and values. The “gist” of an organization will impact how everything people-related is handled, from hiring to performance reviews, down to attrition and job satisfaction. The most powerful take-away from all of this, is that the precedent for an organization’s culture is grappled with and developed by its leadership.
Whether you are a discerning job candidate, in the process of deciding if a leadership position at a business is “for you,” or taking notes to build your own business empire, the power of organizational culture and your potential leadership role is something to pay careful attention to.
You’ve heard this before, but we’ll say it again. Leaders aren’t simply “born.” They rise to the occasion! For many successful leaders, it takes not a fancy title, but rather a mixture of experience and education which helps them to develop their skills. Many leaders get a true edge on the competition by earning a Master’s in Organizational Leadership (MSOL). The flexible, 30-credit program at Goodwin University allows high achievers the opportunity to continue working while in school, and to complete their degree in as few as 20 months part-time. You can continue building your working experience portfolio, while studying valuable curriculum that can help you conquer new roles at your current organization, or set out on the great wide open in search of more advanced opportunities. MSOL courses like Data-Driven Decision-Making for Executives and Sustainability of Innovation and Strategic Advancement might seem advanced – and the truth is, they are! Yet they are also the practical, nuts-and-bolts skillsets required of organizational leaders and culture influencers.
If we had to pick the most important leadership strength for aspiring leaders, we would select communication. That’s why Leadership Practices in Organizational Communications is top of the list of required classes in Goodwin University’s MSOL program. We think the folks at Forbes would agree with us, too. Communication is vital to influencing organizational change. Employees should be treated like the valuable contributors they are, and it is (or will be!) your job to encourage the results you want using your communication skills. Give employees a purpose, the opportunity for accomplishments, and a workplace culture they will enjoy. After all, according to the World Health Organization, one–third of adult life is spent at work.
As you probably see by now, organizational leadership will often dictate workplace culture. On your career journey, this will be something that you confront. You might have to ask, “Do my professional interests and my personal values align when it comes down to workplace culture?” Well, the great thing about leadership is that it is transferrable to a vast variety of environments. With the skills learned in an MSOL program, you’ll be able to pivot like a dancer and acclimate as seamlessly as a chameleon. With these leadership skills, you can afford the flexibility to find out whether “formal and corporate” or a “blue-jeans, start-up environment” is right for you, and ultimately spend one-third of your life doing something that feels true to you.
Learn more about Goodwin University’s career-forward MSOL program by visiting us online, or calling 1-800-889-3281 for more information or to apply, today.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.