Engine Room Articles

Culture Creates Brand

If you’ve been visiting the dark side of the moon or living under a rock in the past few months, you may have missed the signs that our federal parliament has a deeply disturbing culture of misogyny and inequality. 

So, what is Culture? How did this Culture come about?  How can this Culture be changed?

What is Culture?

Culture refers to the beliefs and behaviours that determine how an organisation’s employees and management interact and handle situations in the work environment.

Often, workplace culture is implied, not expressly defined, and develops organically over time from the cumulative traits of the people the organisation hires.

How did this Culture come about?

The main influence on the workplace culture, are the leaders in the organisation.  The people that carry the greatest influence – either through positional power (rank within the business) or strength of personality.

Sadly, many leaders don’t understand the above flow, and subsequently behave in a manner contradictory to the culture, that they need to create, that will consistently deliver the performance they desire.

How can this Culture be changed?

Not easily is the short answer!  A positive, constructive culture takes time to build, and is fragile.  Poor leadership behaviour can fracture a good culture quite quickly. 

Sadly, some leaders will be seduced into believing that changing the branding will quickly change the culture.  This is hyperbole at best and deceitful at worst.  Any ‘spin doctor’ that ‘sells’ the message that branding (a media statement, new logo, website, uniform etc) is going to effectively shift culture, simply doesn’t understand what culture is, and what creates a positive, constructive culture.

So, unfortunately our Prime Minister and cabinet needs to quickly comprehend that a few ‘circuit breaker’ media announcements isn’t going to shift the culture.  Likewise, business owners need to comprehend that a new ‘coat of paint on the building’ isn’t going to address the structural cracks inside the building.

What is needed is education – on what is culture, what shapes culture, and what can be done (individually and collectively) to  shift the culture to a positive and constructive one.


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