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Goering was right

Thursday, October 3rd, 2019

Goering once said “When I hear the word culture I reach for my revolver”.

I’m a bit like that.  When business owners talk about culture, I know that I’m in for a platitude-strewn conversation.  I’d put a small bet on the words “customer-focused” appearing within the next few sentences.

Too many business owners seem to see “culture” as something to be implemented, like a new accounts package.  They see it as a some kind of mantra, developed in a couple of faintly embarrassing employee workshops facilitated by some bloke in a suit, or perhaps beard, sandals and pullover, and trotted out whenever the need arises.

So…tick…done the culture.  Got the pictures on the wall (cue stirring slogan and glossy image of man climbing mountain, or the Red Arrows).  What’s next on the list?

In fact, culture is what it feels like to be an employee, and by extension, what it feels like to be a customer, of your organisation.

What do you think it feels like to be one of your employees?  Do they feel stretched but confident?  Completely overwhelmed?  Chellenged and supported?  Scared to make a decision?  A sense of purpose and ownership?  Or apathy?

The point is that creating and nurturing the way your employees feel about working for you is one of the few things that you as a leader should be doing.  Culture is not a bolt-on, something you copy and paste into a sales proposal.  It is created every day, in hundreds of small interactions, in the processes and rewards and the stories.

Most business owners don’t do this.  They are too busy sorting out the mess caused by…err…not doing this.  A few people get it and lead their business to bigger and better things.

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