The Learning Wave is privileged to be asked by some of New Zealand’s largest organisations to help them empower their people to perform better. Viewing businesses and their workers close up for over 15 years has taught us that every organisation is different, with their own unique circumstances and set of challenges to overcome.

However, there is one key thing they all share, a piece of DNA that can either make or break them: company culture.

Yes, it may be an intangible. An X-factor. And it’s something you’ll not find on the balance sheet, which feels ironic because company culture an extremely valuable and essential asset.

While our clients often see its value, it’s this lack of spreadsheet visibility that means many business leaders tend not to prioritise their company’s culture. At times is can be left to HR departments to articulate, or given a few paragraphs in an induction booklet. But good culture is so much more than that – a golden thread that connects and unites the whole organisation, from an intern to the CEO.

Poor culture is a ticking time bomb

We find that there’s a recurring theme whenever organisations are having serious challenges with their workforces. The leadership always want to remedy the problem, however, they’re often confused as to why despite hitting business objectives with healthy balance sheets, they score poorly on company culture.

We always make the point that although historically  culture might not be a typical measure of company success, it can certainly become a liability and dent their balance sheet when ‘low care factor’ begins to reduce productivity, increase absenteeism, and cause high staff turnover.

A quote from famous management consultant Peter Drucker sums it up perfectly: ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast!’ In other words, the best laid plans – or indeed healthy-looking numbers – can soon been devoured by poor company culture. And the longer it continues, the longer it can hurt a business.

Good culture is clear to see

An organisation with a positive culture stands out a mile.

You can feel the energy and enthusiasm among the workforce, and it shows in both how they interact at work, and socially. It’s also apparent in the way they treat their customers and clients.

These are the foundations for a productive workplace, encouraging workers to successfully collaborate, whether its problem solving or innovating. It’s also an environment in which workers can adapt, pivot, and challenge themselves to improve. The bigger picture is that it smooths the way for an organisation to evolve, without the barriers that a poor culture creates.

Turn your organisation’s culture into an asset?

Good culture not only boosts performance – it is also an enabler of change. And this is particularly crucial for today’s organisations who are not only having to adapt to flexible working, but are competing in a labour market where workers are ever-more cognisant of the importance of company culture and values.

At the Learning Wave, we strongly believe that leadership is the catalyst for creating good culture.

By using our unique Leadership Capability Framework, designed for NZ workplaces, we understand what good leadership looks like and can tailor learning solutions to help leaders close any performance gaps they have. This has successfully resulted in better engagement from their teams, and helped to develop more positive cultures.

For us, the message is clear: good culture can become one of your organisation’s most important assets, regardless of whether it technically sits on the balance sheet or not.