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Harvard Business Profs: 10 Reasons to Design Better Corporate Cultures shares ten lessons to gain a competitive advantage by building and maintaining a strong and adaptive culture that will foster innovation, productivity, and a sense of ownership:

  1. Leaders must set the example.
  2. Strong cultures require investment for the long haul.
  3. An employee ownership mentality is bred.
  4. All of the above reduce labor costs. Specifically, management expends less effort retrieving workers' great ideas, and the company has a larger talent pool to draw upon.
  5. Employee and customer loyalty are both heightened.
  6. Effective cultures reduce some of the more "unwanted" customers – those that make unreasonable demands on employees, saving organizations time and effort.
  7. Based on the above, "the best serve the best." Think The Ritz-Carlton.
  8. The "working hard to maintain" component I mentioned above is not just lip service or annual report verbiage – it's actively and perennially pursued by leadership.
  9. Leadership succession occurs more smoothly.
  10. One warning: cultures can "sour," for many reasons including "the triumph of culture over performance" and "the failure of leaders to reinforce desired behaviors."

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