Monthly Archives: November 2014

Five revealing questions about company culture

Company culture is such a nebulous, dynamic and organic thing that trying to capture and define it in neat answers from a survey is a bit like trying to hold a cube of custard in your hands: messy and quixotic.

Custard Holding

There may be times however when you need to assess your organisation’s capability strategically. In that scenario, culture is one of the biggest tools in the kit to deliver competitive advantage because it directly affects how well people operate and deliver together. Like any other resource, you need to map out your culture as capability to figure out if you have the right stuff to take on your challenges.

Asking employees multiple choice questions that test their ability to memorise the company handbook won’t tell you anything about what your culture actually looks like. You can try the NPS thing or even the how much to quit thing but that won’t give you any insight into what sort of culture you have operating, just how much it’s impacting the working environment. Continue reading →

Turn the Ship Around – Culture lessons from a Nuclear Submariner

If you’re looking for real world case studies of how to deliver people from the evils of Command & Control, this part memoir, part manual by an ex-Nuclear Submarine commander is bursting at the seams with hard won wisdom and practical applications and winning a lot of praise from lean thinkers like Mark Rosenthal.

Turn the Ship Around! A True Story of Building Leaders by Breaking the Rules was written by L.David Marquet and details his experiences shifting teams and people from the debilitating, inevitable consequences of absolute command & control to an emancipated culture based on devolved control decision making, elevated competence and shared clarity.

Marquet describes how he observed all sorts of poor performance, errors and low morale created as a direct result of the command & control culture. Working to targets rather than beyond, silly mistakes and errors that were inside the process but outside commons sense. Continue reading →