9th December

Culture eats strategy for breakfast

Organisational Culture was defined by Schien 2011 as “the set of shared values, beliefs and norms that control the way employees think and behave in the workplace”. Culture is always found within an organisation either by design or by default, this is because culture exists in every human-being within an organization. Since culture is always present, it’s vital to understand why it’s important and how to leverage it to your advantage.

“Culture is the organization’s immune system.” — Michael Watkins

Over the years, the research conducted on Organisational Culture is vast and the benefits of having a healthy culture can be easily seen, so here are the facts: (Forbes)

  • More than 50% of senior executives say “Organizational culture influences productivity, creativity, profitability, firm value, and growth rates.”
  • Culture gets the most out of people: Having a culture that attracts star talent can lead to a 33% increase in revenue.
    88% of people believe culture is a leading source of competitive advantage.
  • More than 90% said that culture was important at their firms.
  • 92% said they believed improving their firm’s corporate culture would improve the value of the company.
  • Only 15% said their firm’s corporate culture was where it needed to be.

Ok, sounds great – But where does Organisational Culture come from and how can our company create it?

Several scholars have indicated location rooted cultural aspects to be the cause for Economic Success. The rise of economic success for the 4 asian tigers (Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan) has been linked to their “Confucian Values”. These values include team-work, trust and long-term job roles. In contrast, organisations in the US are seen to have a “Pragmatic Culture”. Within a pragmatic culture, there is a higher emphasis on individualised work and external relations, meaning customer satisfaction is the core driver employee satisfaction.

Whilst culture can be derived from a nation itself, it can also be manipulated for an individual company.

At ANCHOVY. Our culture defines the way we do things around here, which is; ‘to get ahead, you have to hustle’. We have crafted our culture to create an environment where our clients and our employees work together and feel at home. We have plucked different values from different locations, such as ‘customer-focus’ from the US, and ‘team-work’ from the 4 Asian Tigers to help us meet our mission.

So where does a company begin to build culture?

The answer lies in self reflection, every company should be able to answer these 3 core questions.

  1. Why do we exist?
  2. What are our values?
  3. What is our long term vision?

Only then can a company begin to do the ground-work in building a successful culture. All the research conducted over the years shows organisational culture is a reliable source of competitive advantage which drives success. Whole Foods CEO states “If you are lucky enough to be someone’s employer, then you have a moral obligation to make sure people do look forward to coming to work in the morning”. We hope this article opens the conversation on organisational culture and why there needs to be a stronger focus. In the meantime, we’ll continue hustling.

Emily Attard



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