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Culture eats strategy for breakfast

This oft-cited quote (thanks, Peter Drucker!) runs true to the purpose of limeSHIFT. It’s something that we believe and why we are so passionate about improving corporate culture. As it turns out, we’re not alone. According to a new study from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, more than 1,800 CEOs and CFOs globally confirmed that culture is a top priority. Yet, only 15% of senior executives report satisfaction with their current corporate culture and, more importantly and surprisingly, 92% report that improving culture would improve the value of the company.

But, what is culture?

Culture has been defined as a guiding principle, a company’s operating style or tone, or a shared value set. According to the Fuqua study, culture has a heavy influence on “productivity, creativity, profitability, the value of a firm and growth rates.” Collaborating researcher, Shiva Rajgopal of Columbia Business School, concludes that “effective cultures are less likely to be associated with short-termism, unethical behavior or earnings management to pad quarterly earnings.”

Yes, you read that correctly.

Effective cultures align employees to the long-term vision of the company guiding employees to act ethically. From a risk management viewpoint, value in culture just escalated rapidly.

How to improve your culture? Try socially engaged art

limeSHIFT is on a mission to prove that socially engaged art is the most effective tool to improve culture. The benefits range from attitudinal and behavioral to cognitive and prosocial. As Professor Giovanni Schiuma, Director of the Innovation Insights Hub at University of the Arts London, writes, “Indeed, a direct participation and involvement in an arts experience encourages learning through a trial-and-error process, which represents powerful experiential mechanisms to develop skills as well as to engage people in conversation and team working.”

Creating art is not only a team building activity. Professor Schiuma’s research finds that it also enhances: “intuitive thinking, emotional arousal, aesthetic understanding, social intelligence and more generally creative capabilities, such as imagination, improvisation, perception, empathy and flexibility, to name a few.”

What CEO would not want a workforce of creative, socially intelligent, and empathetic employees? Through the empowering process of creating art, employees connect deeper to themselves, their colleagues and their companies, and in that process, social responsibility and accountability is embedded into the culture… and isn’t that exactly what our business world needs right now?

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