Business Motivational Speakers – Culture is the Unwritten Set of Rules within Your Business

Business Motivational Speakers

Culture is the Unwritten Set of Rules within Your Business

The concept of Unwritten Rules within an organisation, which I allude to in this article, is based on a concept developed by Steve Simpson and Stef Du Plessis, called Unwritten Ground Rules or UGR’s.

Business Motivational Speakers - Unwritten Rules

Unwritten Rules

We all have a set of unwritten rules about the way we do things and the way we expect people to respond to us. I grew up in a tough neighbourhood, where if you showed weaknesses, you would be bullied and treated as an outcast. Did you think I needed to be sent an email or a memo, as I was growing up to be informed of that fact? Or was it just an unwritten rule about how things were in the neighbourhood. It was an almost unconscious knowing that permeated through the neighbourhood. The same is true about the unwritten set of rules, which form the culture within your organisation.

Have you ever heard people in your organisation say things like “Around here, you never want to stand out from the crowd, as MANAGENT is always looking for scapegoats to sacrifice to explain their own shortcomings.” This statement is filled with all sorts of challenges for any organisation and is the type of unwritten philosophy within any business, which forms the culture within that organisation. There are numerous unwritten cultural philosophies or rules within every business, which dictate the success or failure within your organisation.

Organisational culture is effectively the collective way that the people within your business think and act and is directed by the unwritten philosophies or rules within your business, as described above.  Every business has a culture, which has either been carefully designed to influence people’s actions, in a certain way to get great results, or it is something, which has just randomly evolved and may either be helping  or hindering the performance within the organisation. If you do not take control, understand and actively manage the culture within your organisation, the tail will eventually begin to wag the dog and the culture within your business will begin to negatively affect performance within your organisation.

Taking control and becoming an active manager or optimizer of the culture within your organisation, has never been more crucial than it now is. The cycle of change, we as individuals and businesses face every day, is accelerating at an alarming rate. The only certainty right now is that things are going to change. Our challenge as business professionals and individuals is to accept this as the new normal and just the way we have to do business going forward. The sooner any leader embraces this concept and introduces a culture to support this, the better equipped the business will be to prosper in the years to come.

Optimising the culture to support the business objectives and the inevitable changes the business will face over the next few years, is as or even more important than your efforts to improve sales, R&D or any other organisational discipline, within your organisation. Great leaders know that by optimising the culture within their businesses, they will have a way to support any vision they create. When you can actively direct culture within your organisation, you have a game changing advantage over your competitors, a way of beating the economic challenges we are facing at the moment and ultimately a way to accelerate the value proposition of your organisation.

Optimising and actively managing the culture within your organisation, is not a nice to have. It has become an essential leadership tool, to help you produce the type of results you are looking for in your business. Any leader who neglects understanding, driving and creating a culture to support their vision, does so at their own peril.

It is unlikely that you have heard of Alaris Medical systems, but I am almost certain that if you have had any reason to visit a doctor, you have seen or been exposed to one of their products. They were on the brink of bankruptcy, with bankers breathing down their necks, a share price of 31 c and debt of around $ 525 000 000. Dave Schlotterbeck took over the helm at Alaris and after attempting to turn the business around using traditional income and balance sheet methodologies, trying to drive income up and costs down. The company just kept spiraling further and further into debt.

Dave was beginning to despair and thought that there was no way for him to fix this ailing business. One afternoon he was having a discussion with one of the marketing managers. They were discussing why things were not working out. The marketing manager pointed out that there was a small core of people within the business, who despite the doom and gloom were still delivering great work. He referred to these as the “Go To People” within the business. This simple concept triggered a wave of excitement in Dave and he spent the weekend reading every book he could find on organisational culture and how to get everyone in the business to become “Go To People”.

After investing time to explore the culture within Alaris, Dave began to realise why he was unable to change things within the business. The culture that had evolved within Alaris over the years was effectively neutralising every positive concept or idea he tried to introduce. The culture within Alaris, was one where people avoided taking risks and they shrank away from any high visibility opportunity, for fear of becoming one of the sacrificial lambs, when things invariably went wrong. This culture had been fostered over the because of the experience people had had. It was common practice within Alaris, to heavily punish failure and any possibility of people having fun or enjoying their jobs was strictly prohibited.

The culture within Alaris had evolved into one of survival. People were more worried about protecting themselves and avoided any possibility of standing out, for fear of punishment or worse even losing their job. Dave immediately made a decision to stop focusing on the financial results and put his energy 100 % behind shifting the organisational culture within the business. Within a reasonably short space of time, Dave and his leadership team changed the daily experience, which everyone was exposed to at Alaris. People’s beliefs began to shift and within a reasonably short space of time they introduced the very necessary cultural changes, they needed. Soon after these changes were introduced, Alaris began to move into profit once again.

The culture within any business is created by the experiences the people are exposed to every day within the organisation. The way the leadership interacts with their teams every day dictates how this experience unfolds for the people in their teams. When a leader unconsciously acts every day, without considering how their actions may affect the people within their teams, they are unconsciously creating the culture within their organisation. As culture is the main driver within any business, is it not far wiser for any leader to consciously think about the experience they are creating for their teams and to work to create an experience, which supports, rather than scuttles their vision.

The experiences people are exposed to every day are the catalysts, which foster the beliefs they ultimately develop. This is what triggers the unspoken rules within the office, which say things like “Around here it is best to shrink into the background and not be noticed” These unwritten philosophies or rules, are the direct result of the experience people are exposed to every day. These unwritten rules then drive all the actions within the business.

It is wise for any leader to consciously think about the experience, he or she creates for his or her team has every day? By creating the type of experience every day, which will support their vision, great leaders know they are establishing new beliefs or unwritten rules that will ultimately dictate the type and quality of actions their team members will take every day. When you create the right experience for your team every day, they establish a set of positive and supportive beliefs, which will inspire them to take the right actions every day. As your teams are inspired and they take the right actions, delivering your vision becomes inevitable.  As one of the best business motivational speakers, Andrew Horton is a must for your next event or conference.

The concept of Unwritten Rules within an organisation, which I allude to in this article, is based on a concept developed by Steve Simpson and Stef Du Plessis, called Unwritten Ground Rules or UGR’s.

Author: Andrew Horton Business Motivational Speakers


One comment

  • joseph kwadi /

    Excellent presentation that inspired me as a person. I would like you to send me daily inspirational notes.

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