Culture – Be intentional about creating a positive culture

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The Future Business Formula is my new book that provides insights into the changing landscape of business and how organisations can adapt to succeed.

In this next blog in the series in the countdown to the book’s release in May, I provide an overview of Chapter 5, exploring the importance of being intentional about creating a positive culture.

Principle Five – Culture

Culture is important in enhancing a business’s performance because it sets the tone for how people behave, work together and approach their work. A positive and supportive culture can create a sense of unity, inspire individuals to excel and work towards a common purpose. In contrast, a negative or toxic culture can lead to disengagement, conflict, and underperformance. By fostering a culture of accountability, recognition, and collaboration, businesses can drive innovation and productivity, attract and retain talent, and achieve their goals more effectively.

In our book, The Future Business Formula, ex-F1 executive Mark Gallagher tells how Red Bull Racing and Mercedes-Benz F1 are great examples of teams that transformed their performance by creating a culture that values team alignment, communication, and a common purpose. And much can be taken from how high-performing sports teams achieve success and translating that into optimising your business.

Organisations with an engaged culture have a competitive advantage, according to the Queen’s University Centre for Business Venturing. Their study found companies with engaged cultures had:

  • 65% greater share-price increase
  • 26% less employee turnover
  • 20% less absenteeism
  • 15% greater employee productivity
  • 30% greater customer satisfaction levels.

As a leader, you can directly influence culture and set the organisational scaffolding that your teams can work within. Culture is everyone’s responsibility, but leaders play a significant role in shaping it.

Leadership impacts culture, but most leaders are not aligned to the behaviours that drive values, resulting in micro-cultures and conflicts. Culture is about accepted behaviours, and micro-cultures are created where there are clusters of like-minded people. In the 21st century, leadership should be non-hierarchical, non-authoritarian, and aim to get the best out of people. Leaders need to understand what motivates different demographics and accept that traditional management practices may not work for the next generation of employees.

Creating a culture of collaboration and celebration encourages employees to work together towards a common goal, which creates a positive team spirit. Organisations need to define their culture by breaking down values into observable behaviours – these are the currency of culture, not corporate values that may be too high-level or abstract. Cultures with purpose are arguably more attractive to employees than extrinsic motivators like great benefits and research suggests the next generation is looking for a sense of purpose in their work. When a business has a clear purpose, it can attract and retain talent, and everyone is aligned behind a common winning mentality.

Starting small with change and nurturing a great culture within high-performing teams can create a groundswell of change within an organisation. Trust is essential in a high-performing team and it takes courage to trust someone implicitly. When a team trusts each other, they can confront difficult issues, have healthy conflict, and find their way through it. Decision-making in a high-performing team involves healthy debate, hearing everyone’s voice, and eventually agreeing to disagree and commit to the final decision. By focusing on creating high-performing teams with a common sense of purpose and empowering them to achieve their goals, organisations can achieve significant results and create an energised and empowered workforce.


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More reading:

Read Principle One: Strategy
Read Principle Two: Customer
Read Principle Three: Alignment
Read Principle Four: Leadership
Read Principle Six: Talent
Read Principle Seven: Innovation
Read Principle Eight: Change & Delivery
Read Principle Nine: Simplification
Read Principle Ten: Organisation Design
Read Principle Eleven: Learning
Read Principle Twelve: Measurement
More information on The Future Business Formula

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Written by Adrian Stalham
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