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Smart Thinking blog

Insights and expert advice on the key issues facing today’s pharma marketer

Company culture?

Be you. You’re perfect.

We have all heard the famous quote from Peter Drucker: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. But how do we really live culture?

I remember when I worked for a large organisation. We were bought by another large organisation and the CEO came to present to us. He explained the new core values, one of which was innovation. He then went on to explain the meaning of innovation. To this day I remember feeling bemused – his definition bore no resemblance to anything I did. How could I contribute to the organisational culture if I couldn't translate the values into what I do every day?

Individual contribution is everything when it comes to culture. No matter what your CEO says and does, the culture exists based upon what everybody does every day. If everybody is frustrated by process, it becomes part of the culture; if everybody is quiet on a Monday, it becomes part of the culture; if everybody is frustrated with clients, it becomes part of the culture.

I sometimes find myself frustrated and I can't be the only one. Organisations seem to be obsessed with meeting financial targets every quarter – it's because the definition of success is profit and shareholder value. What happened to employee value? In a business like ours, which is predominantly people driven, I believe that our culture and our values, which define whether or not we are happy, are the most important components of business. If we get that right, we deliver wonderful work and clients keep coming back for more. I guess I'm saying values and culture are more important than profit as they define the future and the quality of the organisation.

We recently asked our team what type of organisation they want to work in. By contributing in this way individuals were effectively describing how they want to be in work. It probably comes as no surprise – the key themes described were entrepreneurial, thought-leading, accountable, empowering, and with partnerships at the core. What was most surprising was how consistent it was across the team. It made me think that there will be some individuals across the industry who want this and probably don't get that culture with their current employers. I believe that everybody comes to work and wants to contribute and do a great job. I also believe that nobody should be asked to “fit” within a culture, everybody should be allowed to define who they are and be themselves in their organisation. It's only when organisations allow this to happen that they'll get the best out of their biggest asset.

What's my message? I'd like everybody reading this to ignore their perceptions of their company culture and profits, and to identify what is more important to them than anything else. Define who they want to be in work and commit to it every day. If that contribution is not valued, find somewhere that it is... life is too short to not be true to you.

Article by
Dennis O'Brien

is chief executive officer at Lucid

7th April 2016

From: Marketing

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