The Impact Of Culture On Performance with Steve Simpson

In this episode of, Selling in Asia, Tom Abbott sits down with Steve Simpson, an Author, Change Agent, and International Speaker who works with companies to transform their workplace cultures – to discuss the impact of company culture on performance.

“If your workplace culture could become as good as you wanted it to be: Would there be any improvement to workplace productivity and performance?”

Steve Simpson

It’s no real secret that adopting a healthy company culture is essential to any business. Considering that employees and their employers alike are equally aware of the importance of utilizing their attractive workplace to gain top candidates, inform career decisions, and formulate business strategies.

If we delve deeper into the matter, did you know that 46% of job seekers cite culture as very important when applying to a company? With 15% saying they’d turned down offers because of a company’s culture. So, in this episode, we’ll be following Tom and Steve as they uncover the fundamental aspects of creating a sales culture from the bottom upwards.

What is Company Culture?

Let’s begin by defining the meaning of Company Culture; Company Culture is the behaviors and beliefs that are common amongst employees and management at a company. The Company’s Culture determines how they interact with one another as well as customers and suppliers. A company’s culture often develops organically based on the traits of the management team and the people the company hires.

While a company might believe they can define their company culture in their codes of conduct or employee handbook, it’s the UGR’s (Unwritten-Ground-Rules) that really form the company culture.

Steve Simpson is the pioneer and founder of the concept of UGR’s (Unwritten-Ground-Rules).

People don’t quit companies, they quit bosses.

Tom Abbott

Your Company’s Culture is in the Unwritten Ground Rules

“If your workplace culture could become as good as you wanted it to be: Would there be any improvement to workplace productivity and performance?” is a compelling question that Steve and his team stumbled upon during the research stage of their study. They found that it forced people to reflect on their workplace culture and were much more introspective by using a sliding scale of percentages to define their answers. 

“I created the concept of UGRs – ‘Unwritten Ground Rules’ as a tool to help leaders understand, manage, and strategically improve corporate culture. The concept has been developed enormously with my great friend and business partner, South African Stef du Plessis, and is now receiving acclaim across the planet.”

Steve Simpson

UGRs are people’s perceptions of ‘this is the way we do things around here,’ so it’s only natural that it’s the UGRs that drive people’s behavior. Surprisingly, these are rarely discussed openly in workplaces. 

Some examples of UGRs include:

  • “At our meetings, it isn’t worth complaining because nothing will get done.”
  • “The only time anyone gets spoken to by the boss is when something is wrong.”
  • “The company talks about good customer service, but we know they don’t mean it, so we don’t have to worry about it.”

Five-Step Process for Utilizing UGRs

To gain maximum value from UGRs, Steve’s organization Keystone Management Services has involved various organizations in a five-step process framed around its strategic vision for the culture.

  • #1. Envision: The beginning stage is where companies clarify their Key Cultural Attributes (KCA); for instance, these could be in the company’s value or mission statement. 
  • #2. Assess: The second stage is to evaluate the current company culture. This evaluation is referred to as a ‘stocktake’ and is utilized for planning and implementing improvements. 
  • #3. Teach: In this stage, you’re educating from the top down in a company structure. Your goal is to educate as many employees as possible about the concept of Unwritten Ground Rules.
  • #4. Involve: Involve everyone in the company when creating positive UGRs, working from the established value or mission statement.
  • #5. Embed: Identify and implement strategies to embed the
    aspirational positive UGRs

Continue Learning

If you enjoyed learning about how to improve your company’s culture, download our Sales Leader Enabler pack here and check out these articles.

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