Magazine article New Zealand Management

THOUGHT LEADER : Why Culture Is King

Magazine article New Zealand Management

THOUGHT LEADER : Why Culture Is King

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael Henderson

Here is an important question for you: a[euro]How important do you consider company culture is in influencing both the short, medium and longer-term future of your organisation?a[euro] If you answered this question with anything along the lines of a[euro]extremelya[euro] or a[euro]critically importanta[euro], you are not alone.

I have recently spoken to senior leaders in more than 50 organisations and asked them how important they consider company culture to be, for both the short and long-term future of their business. Every single leader responded with the word a[euro]criticala[euro] or a[euro]more now than evera[euro]. As one chief executive put it: a[euro]Whichever way you cut it, company culture has revealed itself to be front and centre of nearly every aspect of our organisationa[euro]s future.a[euro]

A managing director said: a[euro]In these tough times ita[euro]s the company culture that is setting the standard of performance quality, initiative and discretionary effort.a[euro]

In another conversation, a client and I discussed her recent experience at a prestigious Harvard leadership development programme. a[euro]You would have loved it,a[euro] she gushed. a[euro]The professor kept hammering the point that without a strong and sustainable workplace culture we can all kiss goodbye to our business strategies. He also said that although the recession offered many well-placed organisations the opportunity to take advantage of attractive merger and acquisition options, many mergers will fail as organisations consistently neglect to take culture fit into account as part of their due diligence processes.a[euro]

Although these may be tough times for business, ita[euro]s a perfect time to commit to reinvigorating your organisational culture. Today almost any effort and attention paid to strengthening and aligning your business culture will pay dividends.

In tougher times people respond well to increased clarity, defined meaning, a sense of purpose and, of course, a sense of belonging. Reinvigorating the culture of your business offers reassurance to people, signals a belief in the future, boosts morale and energises individuals as they continue to front up with your customers.

So what are three simple yet powerful things a company can focus on to strengthen and align or reinvigorate its culture? Unquestionably the biggest leverage of culture is senior leadership communication.

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