Culture – the what, how and why in your business.

Management & Growth, Videos,

The culture in a business can be hugely beneficial, or hugely toxic.

Get it right and you’re more likely to attract and retain the right people, but allow the culture to drift and you may find your good people leaving, service standards dropping and an unhelpful attitude developing amongst your team.

So if it’s that important, I thought I should get an experienced view on exactly what culture is and where to start…

Watch this to find out more!

Want to know more?

You can download the first two chapters of Jacqui’s latest book here:


Follow this link to get a FREE copy of her book, paying only the postage:—Recruit-Inspire–Retain-BA


Hi, and welcome to another episode of “BaranovTV”, designed to demystify the world of accounts, and tax, and to help your business grow.

In this week’s episode, I’ve drawn somebody else into the mix.

Today I’m speaking to Jacqui Mann from J Mann Associates, who were our HR gurus in our last business, who not only kept us on the straight and narrow, but were able to bring a really practical approach to the minefield that is HR.

I’ve asked Jacqui to join me to talk about culture in a business.

So, Jacqui, thank you for joining me. Obviously, as we discussed, really, there’s a lot in the media at the moment, about culture within a business. But what should that actually mean, within a business? If they’re thinking about their culture, what do they really need to be thinking about?

– Okay, well, I mean, first of all, what is culture? You know, some people think it’s where you sit around on beanbags and you get free food, and you’re all sitting cross-legged and singing “Kumbaya”.

That’s not culture at all.

Culture is about your purpose or your mission, whichever you like to call it, I like to call it purpose.

  • It’s also about your values and your behaviors.
  • It’s about your attitudes and your beliefs
  • It’s about what’s actually how we do things around here.

That’s really what culture is about, and that’s what makes you different from your competitors, because you can all, you know, anybody can sell the same product as you can, but they can’t copy your culture. So, that will give you a competitive advantage, so that’s the difference.

The things I see that people do wrong sometimes, with their culture, is they will, they’ll come up with their mission statement or their purpose statement, and then their values, and then all they do is put them on a poster on the wall, and that’s where they stay.

So, to make your culture successful, you need to make sure that you’re living those values every single day. And, it needs to underpin everything you do in your business.

– Okay, so presumably, if someone hasn’t got those values in the business yet, presumably you’d recommend involving the whole business in working out what those are, and how to implement them?

– Yeah, I mean, it depends on the size of the business. But, yes, the more buy-in you can get to it the better. So, if you’ve got a leadership team, I would start with them.

And then, once you’ve come up with some of the things that you think are the values, then send them out to the rest of the staff, get their input from it, and get their feedback, and then go from there, really.

– Okay, and if you have got values, and they are just on a sign on the wall, how can you start to turn that around, and start to make sure that you are actually living and breathing those values within the business?

– You need to make sure that you’ve got behaviours that go with each value, and that’s where a lot of people fall down, because they might have a value, you know, like working as a team, what does that actually mean?

And, you need to make sure you’ve got really clear, defined values, with the defined behaviors that match them.

So, that then everyone knows what that means, so that you can then start to see people doing those things, or not doing those things. And that’s how you then make your values measurable, by having the behaviors.

– And from that point, you said, obviously, it’s got to run through the entire business, you’ve got to have the behaviours. What sort of plan would you put in place to make sure that that’s actually working, and constantly coming back? So, presumably, you want to be constantly reviewing those behaviors, and the values, and constantly checking that that’s working well?

– Yes, and you need to make sure it underpins everything you do in your, what I call your people foundations.

So, the bits that people don’t really like that very much, you know, you got your employment contracts, and your policies and procedures, your company handbook, your recruitment process. Your values need to start there, when you’re recruiting people.

  • You need to recruit against your values.
  • You need to performance manage people against the values.

Everything you’re doing in the business needs to link back to the values.

So, you need to be talking about it all of the time, and reward against the values, you know, what’s the behavior. And, you can actually get the staff to be seeing other people living the values, and get a little reward system going. That way, that works quite well.

– Okay, I like that, that sounds like a good idea.

So, if you are implementing values, is that, that’s obviously not going to be a quick win. What sort of time scale would you expect that to take? Because, a lot of people, when they’re starting to implement it, worry that it’s not throughout the business within, sort of, a three-month period. So, what’s a realistic time scale?

– It can take three to four years to actually embed a culture properly, to make sure that it’s something that people do without thinking about it, really. So, it’s a long process, which is why a lot of people give up on it, because they think it’s not working.

– Yeah, okay, is it something like that isn’t going to be a quick win, is it? It’s going to be a long process.

– And it’s a constant, you have to keep going on and on and on about values, all of the time.

– Right, okay. Okay, and presumably, if you’re looking to exit a business, as we did in our previous business, you need to make sure that those values are inherent in the business before you start to plan that, so that they do continue afterwards.

– Yeah, I mean, if you’re looking to sell your business, you know, exit the business, then culture is seen as an intangible benefit, an asset to your business, so it will be looked at, at whether you’ve got the strong culture or not.

But, also, you know, the culture can’t just be about the owner, or, you know, who, the leader of the business, because if that person leaves, and the culture is all about them, then it will fall to pieces. So, the culture needs to be able to live on, with or without that person. So, if you’re looking to exit your business, you need to get that strong culture, so that that business can continue when you’re no longer there.

– Okay, brilliant, thank you very much.

I think that whistle stop tour around culture, and quick discussion around it, I think that proves just how complex the subject is. And, why, if you don’t have good HR support to help you through that process, it’s a really good idea to find some.

So, thank you very much, Jacqui, for joining me on this week’s episode.

If you’ve got any questions, or would like to speak to Jacqui, or just to speak to us, to just sort of use us as a sounding board, then please do get in touch.

Otherwise, I’ll see you all very soon.

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