The Impact of Culture

Paul Curtis took the time out to write his thoughts on the impact culture can have on an organisation - see his article below;

Culture Impact

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In the 1980-90s a company’s culture was seen as an important element within the strategic planning framework.
Today however it’s seen as more tactical, not something to be lived, rather something to be planned and managed. Despite designed cultures rarely working, the subject of ‘Culture’ has become a low priority. In hindsight, this was a huge mistake.

Typically, an approach is adopted that best suits the company’s perceived needs i.e. develop a strategy that will keep you ahead of the completion and in favour with the customer base (assuming longevity is a desired outcome for the business). 

This thinking only relies on a critical assumption; that your strategy cannot be copied, or achieved faster by your competition.

Is it sound business practice to develop a winning strategy totally reliant on innovation (acquisition, products, service and cost) in a time where technology is growing exponentially? 

If one assumes everything can be copied, then differentiating yourself on the most difficult element to copy must become a critical success factor. Culture is extremely difficult to copy, it is even more difficult to achieve. 

 

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Is Strategy successful without an established culture?
With so much time invested in market research, consultancy support, communication forums, strategy workshops, deployment workshops etc., why do we still persevere with this obsession?

We are told it’s to; provide a clear plan of what the company needs to, give stakeholders/stock market confidence and provide clarity and guidance to the employees

Or is the truth . . . Sitting amongst all the bureaucracy ‘Strategy’ has just become the pursuance of just one metric ‘Winning’ where winning means generating big profits (irrespective of any social impact).

The development culture is dying and this action is producing the same results everywhere:

  • High flyers (promoted or recruited in) reduced to underperforming conformists
  • Fearful, anxious, bewildered and broken-down people trying to find meaning in their lives
  • People who want something to blame and blame everything that seems different
  • People who see the complexity but are marginalised amidst all the noise

 

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What can be done?
First stop looking for silver bullets. In 2003 a study was carried out by Harvard Business Review called the ‘Evergreen Project’. The aim of the research was to identify what differentiated the great companies from the others (criteria had been established to enable judging). 
The great companies excelled at four practices:

  1. Strategy - all companies within the research could evidence a strategy that was known by all employees not just a few
  2. Execution - flawlessly implementing the strategy
  3. Culture - having the right motivation and behaviours, including how good and poor performance was rewarded
  4. Structure - this equated to round pegs in round holes i.e. having the right people in the right jobs in the right organisation structure

The Evergreen Project established that without Culture the other three practices are not enough to achieve greatness. Culture can kill the performance of excellent people.

The conclusion we draw is that culture has become less important in the twenty first century. Peter Drucker once said, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast". Perhaps it’s time to renew our thoughts on culture to ensure our strategies have a better chance of working.

 

 

Article written by Paul Curtis (August 2017)
www.access2growth.com  

 

Effective Motivation

This week we have been working on motivation, which includes the theories from Herzberg.

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He quoted:

"if a small percentage of the investment in Hygiene Factors went on job enrichment, the economic gains would be the largest dividend that industry every reaped".

Do you think his criticism is justified?

The Invisible Enemy

Every once in a while we come across something that completely understands access2growth's way of thinking. Gwendolyn Galsworth's article on Visual Management is a perfect example.

Joe Booth summarises Gwendolyn's article below;

The Invisible Enemy - a summary

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There is an invisible enemy in your company. Its impact is massive at every level of the enterprise. The only way to destroy it is by focusing on what it causes . . . inefficiency.

The enemy is information deficits - information that is incomplete, imprecise, misleading, late, wrong or missing.

Missing answers are rampant in the workplace and those needed are the ones required for us to do our work. The impact on the business is enormous. When people search for their missing information people become busy but not effective. The symptoms are people searching, guessing, counting etc... This includes, asking questions, answering questions, interrupting to ask/being interrupted to answer and waiting for answers that might never come.

Information deficits don’t just cause inefficiency, they become contagious. When missing information, people interrupt others to find answers. People often interrupt co-workers for answers. The disease spreads as interruptions continue. The cost caused by the invisible enemy swells. Missing answers rule the non-visual workplace.

It takes 8 to 10 minutes to recover from an interruption, no matter how long or how short. To recover doesn’t mean getting back to the task-at-hand - but instead to the level of focused attention before the interruption. Some people are interrupted continuously.

What if the invisible enemy, were removed from the workplace? The efficiency of the organisation dramatically improves when the missing answers are available to all.

We at access2growth have developed a new way of working to remove the invisible enemy. It’s called VISUAL MANAGEMENT.

The information to do work must be visible to everyone. Within each department, daily targets are set and shared with the team. Every day each team has a brief huddle, assesses progress, shares problems and fixes them quickly. Over time processes improve and information deficits disappear. In six months a revolution in the workplace occurs and efficiency rockets.

Let the workplace speak!

 

The Invisible Enemy: Ruler of the Non-Visual Workplace by Gwendolyn Galsworth.
Summarised by Joe Booth (July 2017)