Entries from March 2018

Is your culture fit for purpose?

15th March 2018



Does the culture of your team or organisation inspire people to perform and deliver your strategy?

Is it actually aligned to your strategy and if not what is your plan to align it?

One of my favourite quotes on this topic is from Peter Drucker: “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” It doesn’t matter how good your strategy is if your culture does not support it then there is always wasted effort and lost productivity.

There has been much research on this topic showing that culture is typically responsible for around a third of organisational performance. Companies with a strong culture outperform those organisations that don’t have a strong culture.

What is culture?

The phrase you will often hear when asked what is culture is ‘it’s the way we do things around here’. It’s often difficult to define and put your arms around. Ask anyone you know to define the culture of the organisation they work for, they’ll probably struggle to articulate it clearly. If you are in the same position here are some areas to look:

  • What is the standard of performance expected and how is it measured?
  • What are conversations focussed on customers, products, processes…?
  • How are decisions made?
  • What is your external Brand and does how you operate support this or sabotage it?

One quick way to ascertain how aligned your culture is to your strategy is to ask your employees to explain the business strategy and then their role in delivering it. If you get lots of different responses you can bet your culture and strategy are out of sync!

Measurement is key

The suggestion above is a very simple way of measuring alignment. If you want a more robust way to measure culture there are several tools available . One I particularly like is from the Barrett Values Centre. Their tool allows you to easily identify the personal motivations of your workforce by asking them to identify their values. The same tool also asks participants to identify the values currently driving the organisation and the values that they believe will enable the organisation to achieve it’s full potential. The results provide you with information to determine how aligned your culture is and where the gaps are. You can then monitor this on an annual or biannual basis.

New rules for business

Measurement is key because the world of work is changing. New rules are evolving. No one person has the answer to a problem anymore, so greater teamwork and networking is required. Customers are more discerning, so you need to stay on the front foot in terms of service and product development. And technology is driving innovation at a faster pace than ever before.

All of this has an impact on your culture and it’s time to be proactive. Define and monitor your culture so you can deliver your strategy and outperform your competitors.

Like all things worth doing well it requires you to invest upfront, knowing that the payback is down the line. There is no silver bullet for this nor a quick fix. All high performing cultures are a result of focus, determination and constant evaluation and adjustment.

If you’d like to know more about how to measure and grow your culture email me to set up a free discovery call and explore what might be possible.

‘Culture is the key factor that differentiates one group of people from another’

Richard Barrett

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