When someone (customer, patient, visitor, prospective employee) first walks into your organization, their initial impression will be created by the physical surroundings. They will have a very different impression if you're located in a fancy new office building with a fountain in the lobby than if you're located in a rehabilitated warehouse down at dockside. Knowing this, you've doubtless put a lot of thought into the design and furnishing of your space, probably with professional help to make sure you get the details just right.
But lasting impressions aren't created by things that can be seen by the eye, are they? Rather, they're created by the unseen qualities that spark emotional reactions. This emotionality is vital to the future of every business, including that of your organization. Most business leaders don't put the same detailed thought that they invest in physical design into the design of this invisible architecture. If you take the time, though, it can be one of the best investments you'll ever make.
There are three interrelated dimensions of the architecture which can be seen only with the heart and not with the eyes: core values, corporate culture, and emotional environment.
Core values: Most organizations have (or should have) a statement of values, but very few have effectively utilized their commitment to these values as a resource for recruiting and retaining great people and competing for loyal customers.