Organisational Culture

We are Family……the sentence renown for a hit single from the American vocal group Sister Sledge. The record was released in 1979. It went gold reaching the heights of the top ten on both sides of the Atlantic. A good wedding song and disco hit at any party and a special focus for leadership and organisational culture.

The song was written by Nile Rogers for the 4 sisters of the band. It was quite evident that the family connection was strong and durable and remains the same today:

Everyone can see we’re together
As we walk on by
(And!) and we fly just like birds of a feather
I won’t tell no lie
(All!) all of the people around us they say
Can they be that close
Just let me state for the record
We’re giving love in a family dose

Organisational Culture Types

So, what is organisational culture and what are the organisational culture types? There are 4 culture types:

for major culture types

For instance, clan is an inherent critical factor in the overall drive within the company. Without everybody pointing in the right direction and fully engaged it’s very difficult within any organisation to live the culture. In turn this drives the business. Besides, we are a family aren’t we?

Organisational Culture In Business

So why try and duplicate that very mantra in business today? You’ve no doubt heard the throw away lines that seem to make up many meetings and conference calls. Or even reaffirmation’s from employees who state there allegiance to the business:

” If you cut me I bleed blue”

“There’s a type of person who needs to work here”

“We are just one big happy family”

From the off, let’s just understand what the intention is here. In spite of these brave statements the misconception by the board and the employee of buying in to a “family” feel is both misguided and quite frankly dangerous. Culture is one thing. The pretence that we are one big happy family and the company name runs through us like a stick of Blackpool rock is sycophantic. This explains a lot about the very essence of the business itself. So why is that?

Invariably, business is business. We are there to provide the best product, service, customer experience with a good hefty profit in return. As a result, once we try and convince ourselves and our staff that we are some super big family lulls us into the very thing we should never be. You know the type of employee who has to convince others of his/her commitment? Which explains the fact they lack confidence in their own abilities or feel totally insecure regards their own position. A kind of magic crown they wear so all can see how committed they are. So why is it dangerous?

Organisational Culture Gone Wrong

When a 178 year old travel company Thomas Cook went into liquidation in 2019 the whole of the UK was in shock. How did sales of £9bn a year, 22,0000 thousand staff & operational in 16 countries fall foul of the receiver? I watched horrified as the news ticked through on the bottom of my TV screen that morning. A post mortem finally declared an inability to service the £1.1bn debt. Then add a reluctance to acknowledge the fast moving online sites that were cheaper and easier to book.

Translated to: Bad Management equals crap culture!

That day 9,000 UK staff were left wondering what they had done. After all “we were a family business…..just one big happy family”.

History repeats itself time and time again. Woolworths, Kodak, Enron, Blockbuster, Polaroid. The list is endless. Call it arrogance, bad management or blatant disregard for the disruptive entrepreneurs. They who are turning business on its head, re-inventing the customer experience & providing a good shareholder profit and excellent organisational culture. Besides, as we work under the guidance of the business owners we don’t need to hear soundbites of commitment. Specifically, if it’s firmly entrenched in the companies values & culture and clearly demonstrated day after day.

What Makes Good Culture?

So what is organisational culture? It lives and breeds in all successful companies today who literally do as they say and say as they do. All good employees demand company culture and need it to be a great signpost to their own career. For instance, a good example of companies with a winning culture is South West Airlines.

what makes good culture

You can read the full South West Airlines culture. Refreshing isn’t it?

Good organisational types are all around us. In the UK Dave Lewis CEO of Tesco insistence of a “back to the floor” program for all senior executives in the middle of a financial scandal speaks volumes. In comparison, the BBC who insisted that executives become runners for the show Strictly so they weren’t conducting the broadcasting business from an office.

We want to see action! What do your board demonstrate on commitment to the business? How do you contribute? Where do your team Contribute? What is your organisational culture definition?

Or do you just sing the song?

By the way…….you will bleed red…..always red.

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