Culture: The Invisible Force Behind Organizational Success

In the bustling world of business, where competition runs fierce and innovation reigns supreme, what truly sets apart the elite from the ordinary? Is it a cunning strategy, a superior product, or simply a team of exceptional individuals?

While all these factors undoubtedly play crucial roles, they often fail to provide a sustainable competitive edge. The true secret lies in a less tangible, yet immensely powerful element: organizational culture.

As the renowned change management expert, Peter Drucker famously said, ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’.

Culture, the invisible force that weaves its way through the fabric of an organization, encompasses not just the observable actions and behaviours, but also the underlying mindsets and beliefs that shape how people work and interact. It’s the shared values, norms, and traditions that guide decision-making, foster collaboration, and drive innovation.

There are broadly 4 elements of cultural empowerment within an Organisation…

1. Performance Catalyst: A strong culture stimulates organisational excellence. Studies have shown that companies with top-quartile cultures outperform their peers by a staggering 60% in shareholder returns. This remarkable achievement stems from the fact that a healthy culture empowers employees, fosters creativity, and promotes a sense of purpose, all of which contribute to heightened productivity and innovation.

2. Immutable Advantage: Unlike products or business models that can be replicated, a thriving culture represents an enduring competitive advantage. It’s a unique asset that cannot be easily imitated, making it a powerful shield against the relentless forces of change.

3. Adaptability Enabler: In an era of rapid transformation, adapting is paramount. A healthy culture acts as a compass, guiding organizations through the labyrinth of change. It instils flexibility, resilience, and a collective drive to embrace new challenges, ensuring that the organization remains agile and relevant in an ever-evolving landscape.

4. Performance Decelerator: On the flip side, an unhealthy culture can be a formidable roadblock to success. It breeds disengagement, stifles innovation, and fosters a climate of fear and distrust. Over time, these detrimental effects lead to stagnation, mediocrity, and even failure.

So, if we all agree culture is so vital, how can it be harnessed and developed?

The journey towards a thriving culture is certainly not a sprint; it’s a marathon of continuous improvement. There are, however, quick wins to be achieved and the belief in some quarters that it remains a function of luck and solid recruitment is sadly misplaced.

It requires a commitment from leadership to foster an environment where values are deeply embedded, behaviours are aligned, and employee engagement flourishes.

At MBC we have skilled and fully-trained practitioners in organisational culture and behavioural psychology. We’ve developed several techniques and action plans that we weave into the transformation programmes we run with our clients. They have not only supercharged the change results but left a lasting legacy and a set of tools and triggers that ensure the cultural benefits continue to endure.

Think your culture is not quite what it could be, but can’t put your finger on the root cause or decide upon the next steps? Would the Leadership team benefit from a cultural assessment and targeted training? Contact us for an obligation-free discussion.

Richard Bowden

Partner at MBC UK.
With 25 years’ experience in navigating complex landscapes across the Big4, Financial Services, and major transformations, Richard is a seasoned leader who has operated at COO and CTO level and thrives on driving impactful change. Through his journey, Richard has become fascinated by consistently getter better and striving for high performance - in life and in business. Please get in touch if you would like to know more.