Creating a One-Company Culture: Internal Strategy for External Success

By Paul Argenti

In the last century, large corporations have expanded in size, reach, and complexity. To keep employees aligned strategically, management must dedicate resources to creating a One-Company culture, one in which employee self-interest and corporate self-interest intersect. The most successful companies execute strategy through clear communication and consistently articulated values.


The growth of large corporations in the last century has led to incredible progress and opportunity. Through mergers, acquisitions, and changes in markets and technologies, organisations have become more complex, with employees connected by the internet but often separated by geography, language, and culture. All of this puts a strain on companies operating in an increasingly fast-paced world that requires both alignment and agility. The idea of companies with thousands of people operating as one is next to impossible without a concerted effort by senior management focused on strategy, execution through communication, and culture. Put another way, it is up to management to create a One-Company culture.

The starting point for any company beginning the process of creating a One-Company culture is defining a clear strategy that everyone can understand. Unfortunately, most employees are unable to say with clarity and consistency what the strategy is for their company. What is even harder to believe is that most senior executives who sit on executive committees are also unable to clearly articulate their company’s strategy.

There is a simple way to test if a company’s executive team is strategically aligned. Ask this question: “If you were to wake up suddenly from a dead sleep, could you say what the strategy of your company is, and would it be the same answer that other senior executives would give?” Most executives will answer “Of course!” But the reality is that at most companies, nearly all executives will fail this test. And if the most senior managers of corporations are unable to clearly articulate the strategy, how can we expect lower level employees to align together to act as one to achieve the company’s goals?


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About the Author

Paul A. Argentipaul-argenti is Professor of Corporate Communication at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth where he teaches General Management, Corporate Communication, and Corporate Responsibility. He serves as Associate Editor of Corporate Reputation Review.





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