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A Cultural Hypothesis – Surprises & Confirmations

Management Futures
February 29, 2024

In June 2022, Management Futures commissioned Dr Edd Vahid to undertake a piece of research to discover the ‘secrets of culture’.  Ahead of preparing to release the findings, our Head of Culture and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Shona Crooks, asked him 3 pertinent questions:

How do you know when your culture needs a refresh?

The best organisations frequently attend to their culture. It forms a vital part of their everyday practice. In this way a cultural ‘refresh’ or ‘detox’ is ongoing, and importantly avoids the ‘burning platform’ that is often synonymous with cultural change. Case studies of the organisations operating with the most sustainable and transformational cultures reveal a commitment to seeking feedback and understanding key stakeholder’s experience.    

What works and what do the best leaders of cultures do?

The best leaders are deliberate and intentional in their commitment to culture. They are ‘students of culture’ and clearly understand their responsibility in cultivating an optimal environment. The case studies explored as part of the hypothesis consistently identified purpose, psychological safety, and belonging as critical enablers, and it is evident that the best leaders prioritise these components. Given culture is a product of people, it is perhaps unsurprising that the most skilled leaders invest in their people and ensure cultural guardians helpfully translate expectations at all levels of an organisation.

What are the most common mistakes you see in organisations who struggle with culture?

Organisations who seemingly struggle with culture appear to underestimate or undervalue its importance. In these scenarios, cultural attention is often restricted to an annual event, which struggles to extend beyond a paper exercise. This mistake can be further compounded by a lack of organisational consensus regarding what constitutes culture.

Culture can be a competitive advantage and represents a basic fundamental for organisations who have aspirations for sustained success.

Ready for more cultural insights?

Be sure to follow our LinkedIn Page or send your details to highperformance@managementfutures.co.uk to be among the first to read the findings in our Cultural Hypothesis as soon as it is published.

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