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Change your culture if you want real success

Peter Drucker famously said: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
So if you really do want to succeed — you need to look after your culture first.

Most companies, of course, start with a great strategy, forgetting that it’s PEOPLE who need to implement this strategy. And if the culture of the PEOPLE is to perform badly, then it doesn’t matter what strategy you put in place.

Here are some mistakes that people make:
“1. The culture needs to change. Please fix it.”

This is a mistake because the culture comes from the top. It’s impossible for an outsider to “fix” a culture through a workshop or series of workshops.

If you really want to fix a culture, there are ways to do it; and it needs the enthusiastic participation of everybody in senior management, from the top down. We use research-based methods that have been tested — and really work — out there in the market.


2. “Please will you do (an event/a team-build/an internal marketing campaign) because people are feeling demoralized.”

If your people are feeling demoralized then an event / team-build / internal marketing campaign is like trying to teach a pig to sing. Don’t do that. Because it wastes your time, and annoys the pig!

3. We really need deep culture change. We have been in business for 30 years and we need to hand over to the next generation. We’re tight on budget. Also we’re very busy so we can give you half-a-day at our training room downstairs.

Yeah, OK. Half a day to shift a 30-year old culture — half a day even to shift a 30-day old culture is not enough. And at least initially, you need to get out of your environment. You can’t do it in-house. Not in the beginning. And if you don’t have enough money to spring for an external venue, your problems are worse than you think.

Bottom line is: Culture change starts at the top. It will take 8-12 weeks to start understanding what the real problems are. And it will take another 9-12 months to really embed the new culture.

If you do it properly, it will touch every part of your organisation. Organisational design, reward systems, KPI design, innovation, how you run meetings, how you make decisions — even how you spend money! Everything.

It will be profoundly uncomfortable for some people in the business. Very scary and uncomfortable. It will get worse before it gets better.

The upside is you will infuse your organization with a new sense of urgency and purpose. Your customer service will improve dramatically. Your profitability will improve dramatically. Your morale will improve dramatically.

And you will start attracting to your business people who really want to work there.

So if you want to tweak your culture, let’s talk. It’s exciting, transformational and rewarding.

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