25 Nov 2015

Culture is a strategic asset

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Suki Laniado Smith is Head of Culture for the Shirlaws Group.

At Shirlaws we believe Culture is a strategic asset. It’s the ultimate accelerator for growth. It provides leverage to jump the black holes.

Black holes represent infrastructure problems and it’s almost impossible to jump them without the right team and mindset. For example, many businesses fail at the first black hole if the entrepreneur/business owner is unwilling to let go. This ‘I must be responsible for everything’ mindset eventually creates a barrier that stops the business growing beyond the 80k mark.

What do we mean by Culture?

  • Culture is the climate created through all the choices you make in your business…past, present and future….and the behaviours which result from those choices
  • First and foremost, its about choices
  • Culture is  a key growth accelerator  without integrating an effective Culture into the business model you hinder your ability to dictate your pace of growth
  • Culture is created by choice if you’ve invested in it
  • Culture is created by default if you haven’t paid attention to it
  • Culture is a system of how you choose to operate

Culture is communicated externally as well as internally. It’s expressed through your Brand Values and the behaviours associated with your brand. If a business wants faster growth it must embed its Brand Values in every internal- and external- facing choice it makes.

Culture is a reflection of everything you do. Brand Values can’t be simply added on because your brand is your DNA and DNA starts from the inside.

Culture Accelerates Growth.

Moving (and staying) up the growth curve

The speed at which you move sustainably up the growth curve can be dictated by integrating Culture into all the choices in your business model. If you don’t pay attention to Culture, or believe it’s something you might have to “focus on later when there is more time”, growth becomes less sustainable. By this later stage it will take a huge amount of effort and commitment to “fix” or “change “the Culture. 90% of the issues facing business owners are about people.

Jumping the 80k black hole

In jumping the first black hole at 80k, a business owner makes an important mindset shift. Maybe they take on a partner, or maybe they delegate part of their role completely. This first important Culture shift occurs when the business is no longer just you.

This mind shift happens for the business owner when they recognise how a robust Culture can support them. Without this personal change, they fall back into having to do everything themselves, which stifles further growth beyond 80k.

Making strategic choices required to jump black holes, isn’t always easy. It’s imperative to understand these are pivot points where the process of people and structures comes together. Do you have the right people, with the right capabilities and mind set to support the structures you have created forjumping? Can your Leadership Team support whichever jump you need to make?

Why a cultural integration system?

Businesses that build Culture as an asset are far more valuable. Culture dictates the pace at which a business can grow. It creates trust in the marketplace, as well as confidence to investors that your business has the potential to scale. Income follows assets.

The reason we’ve developed a Cultural Integration System is simple. It generates the speed, alignment and resilience for managed sustainable growth.

For Culture to be effective it must be fully integrated into your business model. This is where ‘people’ and ‘business’ interlock. They are inseparable. For example, you can’t say, ‘This isn’t about Culture. It’s a commercial decision!’ because every commercial decision is ultimately made by people.

Growing your business takes courage, freedom and confidence. Do you have the courage as a business owner to create a robust culture, which often means letting go? When you create a robust Culture you provide a huge amount of freedom in your business for people to step up. This in turn helps people build confidence in themselves and confidence of your business in the marketplace.

A robust Culture leverages your ability to jump those inevitable black holes.

Culture isn’t one thing, its everything.

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