Business Cents 5: the importance of culture
BRIGHTON, Ontario – Why is culture to any business? Is it necessary to have one and then cultivate it? That’s the topic under discussion in Episode 5 of Business Cents, a series of conversations on issues of importance to Canadian furniture manufacturers, distributors and retailers between the author and Albert Marrache, president of Phoenix AMD International.
“Culture is really important,” Albert believes. “It speaks to why we do what we do.”
Culture influences and informs behaviour. Most businesses were founded because the entrepreneur was seeking a better way to do something and take pride in its creation.
“When it comes to my own business, Phoenix,” he says, “our purpose is to help the individual retailer make more profit.”
This means Phoenix AMD’s culture is focused around that idea, which in turn fuels how things are done and governs how decisions are made. If something can be proven to help the retail make a profit, it gets done. If it doesn’t, it’s discarded.
He also admits there’s no set definition of what culture is when it comes to business. In fact, it’s difficult to define. Each business must create its own.
Perhaps one of the best books on the subject is The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle, the American writer of several on sports and business-related subjects.
“Group culture is one of the most powerful forces on the planet,” he writes in the opening pages. “We sense its presence inside successful businesses, championship teams, and thriving families, and we sense when it’s absent or toxic. We can measure its impact on the bottom line. (A strong culture increases net income 756% over 11 years, according to a Harvard study of more than 200 companies.) Yet the inner workings of culture remain mysterious. We all want strong culture in our organizations, communities, and families. We all know that it works. We just don’t know quite how it works.
“The reason may be based in the way we think about culture,” he continues. “We tend to think about it as a group trait, like DNA. Strong, well-established cultures like those of Google, Disney, and the Navy SEALs feel so singular and distinctive that they seem fixed, somehow predestined. In this way of thinking, culture is a possession determined by fate. Some groups have the gift of strong culture; others don’t.”
Albert and I step on to this mine field and we hope you’re willing to take the walk with us. It’s a fascinating topic and one that’s going to become more relevant to each and every business in this country, especially as we take our first steps into what we all hope is a post-pandemic world (although it should be noted Albert and I had conversation before the crisis was declared).
In fact, the first 20 or so people who send me a note ([email protected]) with a question or comment about the episode of Business Cents will receive a copy of The Culture Code. We hope you enjoy it.