This year we have attended over 500 different company presentations, some as part of conferences that we have organised and some were industry knowledge or networking events. Working with multinational behemoths such as Nike, HP, JJC and some smaller private companies such as Sempre Analytics (UK), and ESEI Business School (SPAIN) I have been lucky to have witnessed some stunning “Top 10” TED style presentations and meet company personnel at all levels within the company. This privileged position offers a real insight into a company´s culture and true ethos and it is evident that long term success in a company is not an accident.
Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast (Peter Drucker)
The companies that really invest time and energy into understanding the needs and desires of their employees and making sure that there is an alignment with those of the company are hugely successful and have high levels of staff retention and deep employee engagement.Recently I came across a modified version of the famous Peter Drucker quote “Culture eats, strategy for breakfast” It states “culture eats strategy for breakfast, technology for lunch, and products for dinner, and soon thereafter everything else too.” Techcrunch
There is definitely a quiet, calm understanding by those in the know that if you create a great company culture based on clear sound values you will be a lot more successful than if you don’t.
But how do you create company culture?
Having worked with 1000s of companies over the last 14 years it is clear that the culture begins with values and the demonstrable values come from the principals of the company. In smaller companies it could be the owners, or founders of the company. In larger companies it can still be the founders, but tends to come from the top line management, MDs, Directors, Managers, (in some cases, CEO´s).
“The values of a company are not what the company says they are but rather what they actually DO and most importantly HOW they do it”.
Everyone can sell widgets but not everyone can sell widgets well. Take the example of arguably the best football team in the world FC Barcelona, they don’t just play football, they play well, very well. But this success is not an accident; it is routed in the culture of the club. I had lunch with Carlos Folguera, the man who is responsible for setting the culture of the company and instilling this culture at the famous Masia of FC Barcelona. They begin from as early as 4 -5 years old and they work hard to show values of humility, teamwork, and respect for others. The interesting thing I learnt from Carlos was how they were able to motivate players who were superstars and earned so much money where a 3% -10% pay rise would be perceived as nugatory.
Recently I had a discussion with an officer of a large company who had enlisted us to create a communication skills program for their staff. The trip was to be fun, but they wanted to ensure that the underlying theme was the “importance of communication”.
During our development of the package we engaged with them on several occasions to understand the values of the company and its culture. It became apparent that even though this person was quite senior, they were in tune with the needs and desires of the team and were able to transmit them to us succinctly which made for a hugely successful program.
I have no doubt whatsoever that the game has changed forever and the companies that successfully dwelled in the time of rigid, punctilious laws and structures, sending orders down from Mount Sinai can no longer survive.
Today more and more event managers are trained in the art of getting behind the reason for organising the event. We like to be involved more in the “Why?” stage which helps us to deliver a much more successful “What and How”
Tony Anagor MD LifestyleDMC