Culture = the way we do things around here!

As business owners and CEOs, we need to review culture and determine what aspects of culture are benefiting business and what aspects are holding business back.



Last week I attended a fascinating discussion on culture and the importance of culture to delivering shareholder value.


As was discussed, culture is not something that is written or engraved on walls as mission statements. Culture is like the wind – you can feel it – but you can’t see it!


The question was asked: Why is culture difficult to measure? The answer being, it is harder to quantify than figures – it’s hard to put on the balance sheet and yet all agreed it was critical to achieving business results.


The speaker went on to argue a very interesting case for culture based on the idea that the importance of culture needs to be given a strategic focus. That is, does the culture of your business support your competitive advantage?


It was also suggested that culture – unlike figures – is a leading, not a lagging, indicator of business success. In other words the way we do things around here has a significant impact on the bottomline and is an indication of the future bottomline.


As business owners, CEOs and company directors, there should be a very clear focus on culture and measurements around culture.


This puts a great onus on business owners and CEOs to review culture and determine what aspects of culture are benefiting business and what aspects of culture are holding the business back – or worse still, giving the competition a distinct advantage!


These were some of the questions it was suggested that could be asked in a formal review:

  • Do employees have clear objectives?
  • What is the track record of projects?
  • How is staff turnover?
  • How does our culture give us a competitive advantage?
  • How do our customers feel about our service?


People stay in organisations for culture and values – and the CEO is the leader of values and culture. Big responsibility – and an even bigger responsibility for boards, if relevant, to select the right CEO.


As business leaders or spokespeople for business we have a big responsibility for the way we do things around here.

How do you do things? What values do you lead with?




To read more Marcia Griffin blogs, click here.



Jack Somerville writes: In 20 some years of business design and development, the key learning about culture for me is that it is an output, not an input. I have seen clients spend squillions trying to preach instrumental culture (LSI blue culture etc) with absolutely zero result. On the other hand, companies that get their operating philosophies understood and their tasks aligned find that the culture changes accordingly. So bottom line, change the strategic intent, the core process and the management processes to get you the outputs you want and the culture will follow.

 Marcia replies: Jack – I agree its about alignment!


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