Culture eats strategy for breakfast

by Evan Davies, Chief Executive - QLD | |   Leadership
Culture eats strategy for breakfast

Is culture your most valuable competitive asset? A strong company culture can help you differentiate your brand, attract and retain loyal employees, and build strong relationships with your customers, vendors, and partners.

Organisational culture is the culmination of values, visions, language, behaviours and beliefs making up an entity's unique operating environment. Culture can significantly impact on how staff deal with each other, customers and other stakeholders.

At a recent CEO Syndicate meeting, members discussed what they saw as the dividends of good organisational culture.

  1. Financial benefits

    A well-developed culture can bring a substantial and sustained increase in productivity and performance. Psychologists estimate that the average employee contributes only 20 percent of their potential. However, a culture that deeply engages people is much more productive, and can result in a productivity lift of about 10 percent. Continuous improvement is the norm. As the culture builds, personal responsibility is taken for costs, and administrative and operating costs drop beneath industry norms. Because developing culture creates across-the-board improvements, enhanced profits are inevitable and large.

  2. Recruiting, morale and motivation

    A well-developed company culture has an open, participative workplace. People enjoy working and have opportunities for growth and creativity. They attract top candidates.

    Morale is high. It's closely connected to trust, purpose, team loyalty and faith in the leadership - qualities that improve as culture develops.

    Motivation blossoms in developed cultures, recognising employee's personal work needs and desires. It permits fulfilling needs through the business tasks. When people are recognised and appreciated for who they are and what they do, the two-way benefits are large and unending.

  3. Cooperation, teamwork and relationships

    A developed culture increases cooperation, collaboration, and motivation. Improved cooperation between business sections / levels significantly improves communications, decisions and problem-solving.

    A developed culture involves all staff in the decision-making process. This is fundamental in developing teamwork, cooperation, involvement and trust.

    The culture change process improves relationships of individuals, levels and departments. Better relationships mean improved communications, decisions and performance.

  4. Customer service

    As culture builds, managers learn to be better at managing the quality of everyone's experience, both inside and outside the business. This means happier customers, clients, suppliers and other corporate entities.

  5. Responsiveness to change

    A developed culture brings increased openness to change, and the desire of employees to make changes work. As trust and responsibility increases, employees don't just initiate significant improvements in ongoing operations. Staff actively reach out to their environment, bringing improved ideas and initiatives that make the company more market competitive.

  6. Responsibility, safety and claims

    As the culture develops, people take full responsibility for what happens in their work areas. Problems are solved where they happen and by those affected. Management is freed up from the old policing and monitoring style of leadership.

    A well-developed company culture is a safe work culture. People speak up about unsafe situations. They don't stay silent when someone violates safety practices. Staff constantly seek ways to improve safety, take personal responsibility for creating and maintaining a safe workplace. A safe workplace can be a big contributor to net incomes. Safe workplaces mean lower insurance costs.

  7. Leadership

    Developing the culture trains managers in leadership skills and provides a clearer sense of their role. Many managers say the culture development process was the most important experience in their career, though often they admit it was also the most difficult.

An organisation with the right culture is truly a great place to work.

Does your culture give your business a competitive advantage?

The CEO Institute was founded in 1992. It is now Australia's leading membership organisation for CEOs and senior executives. It provides a forum for over 1,000 Chief Executive members to connect and share their learning with each other. In 2011, The CEO Institute became the world’s first global certification body for CEOs, and in 2013, partnered with UNESCO in support of the "Malala Fund for Girls' Right to Education". In 2014, they began offering their programs globally.
The CEO Syndicate is an exclusive peer support network for CEOs. The first meeting of The CEO Syndicate program was held in Melbourne in June 1992. Offices were opened in Adelaide in 1996 and Sydney and Brisbane in 1997, with Perth launching in 2007. In 2015, the New Zealand office opened.
The Future CEO program is a certification course designed by the business leaders of today for the business leaders of tomorrow. The first Future CEO meeting was held in Melbourne in May 2012. In 2014, the "Future CEO Scholarship Fund for Women" was established, and continues to be offered today.

Membership of The CEO Institute is by invitation only. To register your interest click enquire.





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