notes displaying company values

+ What makes company culture so important?

In this tough economic environment, there is much talk of efficiency drives, cost-cutting and outsourcing. But there seems to be precious-little focus on the ‘softer’, less tangible but no-less significant area of company culture. Why is company culture important? Whereas it is relatively easy to match a product or technological advantage, it is much more difficult to match a distinctive, highly-valued culture. I believe this is where firms will really give themselves a competitive advantage.

In my experience, the majority of business leaders still treat culture as a ‘fluffy’ issue, one that is difficult to get a grip on and unlikely to produce tangible results. But company culture should be on every executive’s agenda as the single most powerful tool to bring about business changes and improve business performance.

And it all comes down to leadership. Business leaders need to role-model the changes in mindsets, attitudes and behaviour they are looking for in the wider organisation. Without this clear, committed leadership, any effort to shift cultural norms will almost certainly fail. If you get the cultural framework right – which needs to be embedded into and aligned with an organisation’s specific business goals – the nay-sayers will have nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. And once you have a critical mass of people in your organisation who are thinking, feeling and behaving in this manner, you have an unstoppable force.