Understanding Culture as a Strategic Driver



Understanding Culture as a Strategic Driver



“Giving and receiving performance feedback successfully is one of the most critical and difficult, yet often undeveloped and undervalued interpersonal skills in the modern workplace.

Paul Jerome. Coaching Through Effective Feedback


How does a worker acquire the skills and knowledge to become really good at what they do?  Of course, they learn by doing. They learn by observing others who are highly skilled. In fact, a great many workers learn this way--without intervention from their managers. Many managers, once they hire someone who is qualified for a job, think they should be able to do the job well from day one. Unfortunately, this is rare. Plus, the learning curve is much longer.


Workers need timely, objective, specific feedback to succeed.  Not only are they learning new skills, they are learning how to: effectively interact with new people, use the organization’s resources to get things done, prioritize what’s important, and adapt to organizational changes.  Without direct feedback, they flounder. They are often reticent to ask for feedback--they are afraid they will be perceived negatively for asking for help. This is especially true in environments where the manager is very busy--so busy, that he/she isn’t available or often appears stressed.

Simply, without effective feedback, workers ‘get by’ on their own. Their learning curves are long and circuitous.  They have a harder time working as part of a team. Their self-esteem suffers.  With effective feedback, they come up to speed and become productive in less time and with a greater feeling of accomplishment.  Whether relatively new or highly experienced, people want and need feedback. But it has to be the right kind of feedback--which is what  you will learn in this module.



As a manager, you are pivotal in establishing, modeling, and sustaining culture in Student Affairs. Our own unique culture is essential in terms of driving our strategy to be a great place to work.  Participants of the GO BIG initiative have worked diligently to come up with a brief, meaningful description of Student Affairs’ culture.  They have defined it as a workplace that establishes trust, fosters pride, and encourages community.  Imagine what each of these ‘looks like’ in terms of how we interact with and support one another each day.  Think how powerful each of these three words is in terms of guiding us toward our goals.  As a manager, ‘living the culture’ is paramount to achieving business and professional objectives.


“Student Affairs is a great workplace where staff trust the people they work with, take pride in what they do, and feel a sense of community in support of the student experience.”




Here are 3 actions that you can do starting today to build trust, pride, and community:




Skillbuilder: Getting others on board

Learn more background information on how culture is defined and why it's a strategic driver in the workplace! (One page PDF)


More Resources

Check out the Top 10 Lists of how to build trust, pride, and community in the workplace!