When I ask business leaders this above question: Does The Culture Of Your Organisation Really Matter? . . . I get mixed responses. Some say, “absolutely,” or “Its essential,” while others say, “we haven’t really thought about it,” or, “we are trying to establish a stronger culture at the moment.”
Yet, if you dig down a level and ask the follow up question, “how do your team know what matters in this company?” Then the results are much less mixed. You get a lot of blank looks or people point to a mission statement .
I prefer the term core values. Mission statements are often lofty, dream led documents that the average employee cannot relate to. Core values are the set of standards of rules that can guide decision making at all levels of a business. A core value would be, We Always Put the Customer First. This would translate to 5pm on a Friday when the warehouse manager is about to go home and a last minute order comes in - he can see that the company would expect him to process this now and stay an additional 5 minutes, rather than leave this to Monday.
This brings us back round to the original questions - does culture really matter? The answer is yes! But only if you are striving to grow a business that people want to be a part of and are happy to be involved in the growth of. Then it matters. As businesses need people to scale, and core values result in a culture that people understand because they can live it every day.
However, there is a downside to a strong culture as well. Some employees might not “fit” and then it quickly becomes apparent they are not in the right role or the right company for their future happiness. The second and much larger downside (to some), is if you have a strong culture -all senior management must live this culture whether they want to or not.
I’m not saying you cannot grow a great company without a strong culture - it makes it much harder. This means for scalable, consistent and sustained growth a strong culture matters, but only when done right.