“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” A quote attributed to Peter Drucker, one of the most admired leadership academics of all time.
While a brilliant strategy may be admired, it is an organisation’s culture, supported by leadership, that attracts, engages, energises and aligns great employees to the achievement of business goals.
“So what exactly is business culture?” you ask. Good question. For me, it is a combination of an organisation’s ideology and personality. “The way we do things around here.” “The things that matter to us.” We will explore this in the next column or two.
The foundation of a business culture is a set of Core Values. According to Collins and Porras in “Built to Last” (2002 paperback edition), Core Values are a business’ “essential and enduring tenets – a small set of timeless guiding principles that require no external justification.”
Along with a Core Purpose (covered in The Beacon in October 2017), they make up an organisation’s Core Ideology – a “self-identity that remains consistent through time and transcends product/market life cycles, technological breakthroughs, management fads, and individual leaders.” These don’t sound a lot like “maximise shareholder wealth,” or “make the boss obscenely rich.” But time and time again, when studies are undertaken about enduring business success, these very “unbusinesslike” Core Values lurk in the findings.
My favourite set of Core Values are The Body Shop’s:
Let's Talk Business
by Chris Bunce
Chris has 28 years’ experience as a management consultant and business coach. During this time he has worked with clients in many industries and of all shapes and sizes, including some in Australia, Asia and the US. Nowadays he is passionate about improving the lives of Aucklanders by helping business owners to master the very few management practices that actually make a difference to their success. Chris lives in Blockhouse Bay with his wife, Cathie, having lived in or around the area for most of his life.