Corporate culture matters

Corporate culture matters.
If you have any doubt, here’s why.

This week I read an inspiring and insightful post share by Keith Hatter, Founder of PlanetK2, a professional training and coaching practice focused on unlocking human potential and enabling performance.

Keith points out that, “in so many of my conversations with leaders over the last 30 years, the one thing that regularly comes up as their most precious resource isn’t cash or equipment or leadership models or tech. Important? Maybe. Most valuable? Nah.”

“It’s energy.”

Pause for a second and give that a few moments to move around in your mind.

Now apply this to the working environments we spend 8 or more hours a day in. Think about the everyday business metrics of ‘effective’ and ‘efficient’. Effective = delivers outcomes. Efficient = manages time (output) as a (commodity based) resource. To explore this as a value, here’s Chris Do, Emmy award winning founder of The Futur

Now factor in what Keith has to say about people; “… because us humans are not carbon-based units of production; I am not a resource, and I don’t think anyone else is either.”

Here’s why culture (shared outlook and some alignment of values) is so vitally important for the team at KM4, and for the clients we serve.

You can fill all the vacancies you have tomorrow if you just need ‘resources’; bodies, bums on seats, people who meet a quantitative data style check list of requirements. Problem being that approach gives little assurance of moving your business forward.

From a human psychology standpoint, negative energy – fear – (manifest as thoughts and actions) represents a powerful force. We’re hard wired from an evolutionary standpoint to heed it above almost all else. Not getting devoured as a small between meals snack for a saber-toothed tiger depended upon it. Today, in a saber-toothed tiger free world, its often this energy which side-tracks organisations looking to evolve. Think personal power at the expense of organisational performance, maintaining the status quo as it suits the individual but stifles business growth, or just turning up and watching the clock. All have a significant negative energy impact on the community that is your office, business, place of work.

Now ‘ethos’ is a concise way of expressing a question; ‘do we share values and outlook?’ Are we a qualitative match? Naturally enough, what we value can, and does, differ radically from person to person. Are we simply a quantitative match, resulting in a person who’s showing up to simply exist.

Looking at this solely from a business point of view, ‘simply existing’ is possibly best (worst) represented as watching the clock and collecting a pay cheque. Deeply unsatisfying for the individual. A real problem for organisations, on a host of levels, not least ‘energy’.

For Keith, looking through the PlanetK2, performance focused lens, where you expend energy to create greater future capacity, this requires a blend of elements, including an optimistic outlook allied to an environment that nourishes you. Nothing controversial in making that statement I’d say. The reward for this; “Our brains will work up to 31% more effectively in a positive frame of mind”, so states former lead FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss, siting research from Shawn Achor, founder of Good Think Inc, and author of ‘The Happiness Advantage’.

My question, in all of this: Are you recruiting the right ‘energy’ for your culture? Or are we still looking for ‘the right fit’ without having considered the cost of failing to create a culture which affords us a real competitive advantage?

It may not be a business goal to be listed in The Sunday Times Best Places to Work (although I’d also ask, ‘why not?’) but we should be exploring the environment we exist in, and the impact this has, as it is experienced by our staff, on a daily basis. “… because us humans are not carbon-based units of production; I am not a resource, and I don’t think anyone else is either.”

What energy does your culture radiate?

How’s that working for you and your business goals?

Share with your network!