Worth reading: Stop worshipping unicorns. Your firm can be entrepreneurial | London Business School

Excellent article on corporate entrepreneurship by Professor Gary Hamel and Anna Johnston.

Where they make a point about some of the fallacies that large companies are at a disadvantage to be entrepreneurial.

The article gives insight into Haier’s corporate structure and approach to make its employees effectifely act like they were their own start-ups.

Source: Stop worshipping unicorns. Your firm can be entrepreneurial | London Business School

Company Culture is it Important?

The term Culture is a rather fluffy term, that can be described manyfold and is different from company to company. Some evolve and others are intentionally created. Fact is that leaders often do not take into account the importance that this element does have.

What some people say about it

To give you a better idea rather than just a definition, here are some good quotes from the blog post 37 Company Culture Quotes That Will Inspire Your Team by Cassie Patton.

The most relevant from the list in my opinion are these for any entrepreneur and business:

“Corporate culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage that is completely within the control of the entrepreneur.”

– David Cummings, Co-Founder, Pardot

“There’s no magic formula for great company culture. The key is just to treat your staff how you would like to be treated.”

– Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group

“Shaping your culture is more than half done when you hire your team.”

– Jessica Herrin, Founder, Stella & Dot

Strategy & company performance

Also to highlight the importance even more, yesterday I read an interesting post by Ferhat Demir on Linkedin where he wrote about designing strategy driven businesses. In his article he makes a point about the elements, which are crucial to be considered and the one which is most critical to develop and include, Culture.

Here is a link to his article and a link to another that is interesting too, because it lists several studies about the importance of company culture in businesses and the positive impact they have. The 7 studies that the author lists are from companies like Bain & Company, Deloitte and other institutions and journals.

Thanks to the authors for the interesting articles and sources of information!!

Leaders potential to shape

I once read that a company becomes the extension of an entrepreneur. I do not remember where I read it, but he or she brand so to say the venture. I totally agree with this statement. From experience I can say that the it is true.

In addition to this and in line with the third quote I have listed above, the founders as well as the other members of the initial team shape the structure, processes and systems that influence the internal atmosphere and attitudes of people. So if you are an entrepreneur, think of how your actions and choice of team may influence the long term Culture.

Another thing that I have also seen and found interesting is that it is possible to find different cultures in the same company. Subcultures so to say, these I think result most of the time either from the people in charge or even specific respected individuals not necessarily in direct management positions. Such people have an impact on Culture with their values and actions and set the example.

To me most of the times a company culture is the result of the values and ethics from the people who lead by example so to say. As the saying goes “you reap what you sow.” To give you one example of this, if you want people to work autonomously and think on their own feet and act, you have to teach how to think, give them freedom to explore, trust and the right to make mistakes, otherwise you will always have to look over everything and this is will not be possible once the company starts growing.

Some ending thoughts

Companies are made of people. It all starts with people and ends with people. Whether you want to create a company or you want to run an established one you have to work through people to achieve goals. If you aim to create lasting change the same applies to any area inside and outside a business.

The need to understand the Culture one wants or which already exists are essential to be able to achieve any specific goal. If an existing Culture does not suit the objective one needs to understand how the other elements like Structure, Systems, Strategy and Leadership affect it, and if necessary change them correspondingly

What do you think? Do you think that you affect the company Culture in your position? What is it that you consider the most important element within your company’s Culture? I would be curious to hear your thoughts about it.