The Power of Company Culture The Power of Company Culture

The Power of Company Culture
31 Jul 2018

Power of Company Culture book cover

By Chris Dyer

Exploring the concept of company culture is all the rage at the moment and provides a great platform for speakers and writers to sell their skills in designing organisations that should, in theory, be wonderful to work in.

This book does feel different to most though. It starts by outlining seven sensible pillars on which to build cultural success and explores each by means of case studies and examples.

Intuitively it all makes sense as who would not want to work in a transparent, positive organisation where managers and leaders listen? But there are numerous elephants in the room – talk of setting up “a fun meeting” (page 31), “happy-face ratings” (page 63) or calling “a huddle between HR and the appropriate level of management” (page 160) may not be entirely appropriate if set against a background of zero-hours contracts, gig-working and an ever-present threat of redundancy, for instance.

Moreover, the sector staff turnover ratios referred to on page 20, which are designated as being “signs of bad and ugly culture”, overlook the fact that they could simply reflect average pay rates.

Good and bad cultures

Culture can only go so far in addressing individuals’ fundamental requirements for decent pay, promotion prospects, respect and stability in the workplace. As such, it would be useful to explore how appropriate internal and external corporate social responsibility activities could be used as a starting point to help improve culture too.

The other awkward truth, which is not properly addressed in either this or almost any other book on the subject, is that a good many successful and profitable organisations have what many observers would regard as “bad” cultures. So even if the author finds “some poor performers, as well as some truly awful companies” (page 13), the fact that they exist and thrive must mean they are doing something right.

But there are some good metaphors in the book – “asprin or vitamin” (page 148) - and there are also various good, practical tips for breaking down barriers with staff, all of which help to make the book useful and accessible. As it largely draws on the author’s own experience within his company, PeopleG2, and other western firms though, it raises the question of whether the work would be as engaging to readers elsewhere in the world.

Ultimately however – and this is why it feels different to other books on the subject – it is well-written, based on solid experience and, leaving aside the happy-clappy wording in parts, a very sensible work. Therefore, it would be a good buy for any boss, manager or employee.

Mark Northway

Mark Northway is director and courses co-ordinator at Deltic Training, which provides strategic administration and business management courses and accredited qualifications. He is a former director and trustee of the Institute of Administrative Management (IAM), a chief IAM examiner and a Princes Trust Award winner for his role in business mentoring in the UK.

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The science of intelligent achievement

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Power of Company Culture book cover

By Chris Dyer

Exploring the concept of company culture is all the rage at the moment and provides a great platform for speakers and writers to sell their skills in designing organisations that should, in theory, be wonderful to work in.

This book does feel different to most though. It starts by outlining seven sensible pillars on which to build cultural success and explores each by means of case studies and examples.

Intuitively it all makes sense as who would not want to work in a transparent, positive organisation where managers and leaders listen? But there are numerous elephants in the room – talk of setting up “a fun meeting” (page 31), “happy-face ratings” (page 63) or calling “a huddle between HR and the appropriate level of management” (page 160) may not be entirely appropriate if set against a background of zero-hours contracts, gig-working and an ever-present threat of redundancy, for instance.

Moreover, the sector staff turnover ratios referred to on page 20, which are designated as being “signs of bad and ugly culture”, overlook the fact that they could simply reflect average pay rates.

Good and bad cultures

Culture can only go so far in addressing individuals’ fundamental requirements for decent pay, promotion prospects, respect and stability in the workplace. As such, it would be useful to explore how appropriate internal and external corporate social responsibility activities could be used as a starting point to help improve culture too.

The other awkward truth, which is not properly addressed in either this or almost any other book on the subject, is that a good many successful and profitable organisations have what many observers would regard as “bad” cultures. So even if the author finds “some poor performers, as well as some truly awful companies” (page 13), the fact that they exist and thrive must mean they are doing something right.

But there are some good metaphors in the book – “asprin or vitamin” (page 148) - and there are also various good, practical tips for breaking down barriers with staff, all of which help to make the book useful and accessible. As it largely draws on the author’s own experience within his company, PeopleG2, and other western firms though, it raises the question of whether the work would be as engaging to readers elsewhere in the world.

Ultimately however – and this is why it feels different to other books on the subject – it is well-written, based on solid experience and, leaving aside the happy-clappy wording in parts, a very sensible work. Therefore, it would be a good buy for any boss, manager or employee.

Mark Northway

Mark Northway is director and courses co-ordinator at Deltic Training, which provides strategic administration and business management courses and accredited qualifications. He is a former director and trustee of the Institute of Administrative Management (IAM), a chief IAM examiner and a Princes Trust Award winner for his role in business mentoring in the UK.

OTHER ARTICLES THAT MAY INTEREST YOU

Mind tools for managers: 100 ways to be a better boss

The science of intelligent achievement

Mind map mastery