Creating a high performance organisation: Part 1 – Culture
Written by Jon Lister, Director of Enterprise Chartered Certified Accountants
When looking to deliver a high performance organisation the first place to start is with the culture of the business. It is a common mistake to focus on the type of culture you want, the business’s culture simply is what it is.
It is a product of the personalities contained in the business, their shared values, their collective experiences and their desire to achieve something together.
So the starting point is recognition of the type of culture already embedded in the business. Again, culture isn’t good or bad it simply is what it is.
The value judgement comes in when posed as “can the business’s culture deliver what we want it to”. But again, the culture is not to blame it is invariably the leaders’ inability to reconcile what they have, with want they want.
A review of the existing culture will identify if everyone is on the same wavelength, looking to achieve the same goals, is motivated by the same things and responds to leadership or management as the two are not the same (but more on that later).
Identifying the business’s culture will allow it to develop that all important ‘tone of voice’ where the business speaks through its staff with one voice that is supported by its communications, actions and interactions.
The best businesses are those who have harnessed and embedded their culture so the leader, the brand and the business all speak as one with the same tone of voice. Think of Richard Branson speaking as an individual, as Virgin or fronting a specific Virgin company and you will see or hear no difference.
The vision, the values and the direction are there plainly to see and to be bought into.
A businesses culture can be changed but it is a long hard process fraught with difficulties…wouldn’t it be better to draw the positives and the competitive edge from the one you already have?
None of us were born the same so why aspire to homogenous blandness set out in numerous management texts.
Different is good, different is unique, different is difficult to replicate!