The rapid rise of technology is changing the businesses landscape faster than ever. The way we communicate, the way we transact and the sheer abundance of readily available data is actually evening the playing field. Technology is lowering the barrier of entry and geographic boundaries have dissolved.

The natural selection process is speeding up and for businesses to evolve, we must seek out competitive advantage.

A good culture is rare. A great culture is unique and near on impossible to replicate. A complex mix of leadership, systems, people and purpose. But it has become a buzz word, culture has an identity problem. Ask 100 managers to ‘define culture’ and you will likely get 99 different answers. Do you understand what culture is, does it get discussed in board meetings and have you deliberately defined yours?

Leaders who have experienced what a great culture ‘feels like’ understand its intoxicating power. Productivity rises, clocks disappear, people laugh, talent finds you, clients queue up and money flows like a river.

‘a great culture is accessible to all businesses, if you deliberately design it’

Here is my five question culture check:

  1. Is there a Vision, Mission & Values and does the team believe it?
  2. Do the leaders openly ask for and listen to feedback?
  3. Is there deliberate and consistent HR frameworks and tools
  4. Do the leaders understand the difference between surface and sustained culture
  5. Is the leader an ass-hole, is the culture better when they are not there?

Over the last 12 years while growing wattsnext and as HR consultants to thousands of fast growth SME’s, we regularly see leaders and business owners over estimate or ignore their internal culture. Sometimes painfully obvious to outsiders, we find ourselves too close to honestly assess and critique our own cultures. Tragically overlooking the subtle signs, we work harder and throw money at technology in hope.

‘there is no culture quick fix, remedy or magic pill’

Building a sustainable, measurable and evolving culture is an art. Something forever pursued and never fully achieved, but get the balance between surface and sustained culture right and you will recession proof your business. Culture is that competitive advantage you have been looking for.

Photo by mnm.all

Author: Ben Watts
Ben is a veteran in the HR space- a forward-thinking leader specialising in functional business structures and people performance techniques. With twenty years’ experience managing large ASX listed corporates across multiple industries, Ben adds depth and expertise to our clients' strategy solutions, genuinely providing a commercial result for their investment.

Comments are closed.