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What elements of your culture do you cherish and what do you need to chuck?

7th July 2016

Culture - chuck and cherish


“Culture eats strategy for breakfast”

This is one of my favourite quotes from Peter Drucker as it captures so beautifully the power culture has in organisations.

When the strategy and culture are aligned things work effortlessly. Where the strategy goes against the culture – the culture will win out. It’s a bit like pushing water up hill!

Most people struggle to articulate the culture of the organisation. It’s not something you can get your hands on and it’s difficult to measure.

Culture is made up of the values and beliefs held by people within the organisation. These values and beliefs drive individual behaviour. Once you understand this you are able to ‘see’ the culture more clearly.

Sounds fairly simple right?


Having worked with a number of leaders in organisations many don’t know their own personal values. It’s no wonder they find the culture difficult to articulate. It also explains why culture change can be difficult. You need to be able to measure where you are and what specifically it is you want to change.

One of the best tools I’ve come across to do this is the Barratt’s Cultural Transformation Tool. What I like about it is it works with values and you can quickly get a picture from managers and leaders across the organisation on:

  • The top 10 values that drive the organisation
  • The top 10 values they think the organisation should be demonstrating

You are able to then see the gap there is between where you are and where they think you need to be.


Values in your current top 10 and in your future top 10 are the values to cherish and nurture. The more of these that match the smaller the gap and greater cultural alignment you have.

There’s a lot of research to support that this then drives superior levels of financial performance.


There are two categories for the chuck pile:

  1. Any values that are fear driven.
  2. Any values that are in the current top 10 and not in the future top 10.

Fear driven values will be having a drain on productivity and profit. They get in the way of people doing their jobs effectively. Examples of these are control, complacency, blame and bureaucracy.

With those values in your current top 10 but not in your future top 10 you need to understand how they show up behaviourally and the behaviours you want instead.

Cultural Transformation

Cultural transformation and leadership development go hand in hand. Are you putting the focus of your leadership development in the right place to address your strengths and your gaps?

One of the tools available is a tailored 360 assessment for leaders. You identify the values you are striving for in your desired culture and the assessment is based around this. You can then build development plans around individual’s strengths and growth areas.

A cautionary note – you may lose people who are not aligned. This is a good thing for them and for you. When you are working in a culture that doesn’t meet your values you will be de-motivated and unhappy and therefore not performing at your best.

If you want to know more about the Barratt’s Cultural Transformation Tools email me and we can set up a call to discuss further.

“Our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.”

Barbara Geraci





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