Yesterday as I was cycling into work I was listening to a podcast from the Financial Times about changing the culture of the financial / banking industry. The general view was that a positive culture was something to work for. This got me thinking about what exactly “Culture” means and given that I have named my company Culture Co-Working that I should say what I mean by it.
Firstly I believe that Culture should equal authenticity. It has to be real and something that is truly believed in, you can have the mission statements, kitted out offices and team building exercises but if that is not who the company is, it’s false and will peter out. It comes from the top down; companies tend to reflect the values of their CEO. Whatever the CEO believes deep down is what flows through the company. We have all seen the pictures of a CEO and their leadership team dressed up in polo shirts at some event trying to be something they are not. Only a few CEO’s have the personality to pull this off such as Richard Branson of Virgin and John Legere of T-Mobile.
Let’s not fall into the trap of thinking that this is what we mean by culture. Every company has a different type of culture some work for some companies and some won’t. I am sure people would be quite happy with a CEO who believes in treating his employees well and honestly. The problem happens when the board or even the CEO themselves try to change and become something they are not. This is where it comes back to authenticity and doing what you believe in and not what you think is popular.
In my own case, I believe in looking after the people who use Culture’s Co-Working space, embracing the changes that are happening in society and business and the importance of a work / life balance. Every CEO / Founder is unique and so should their companies be. So many great companies have had a culture of just trying to do the right thing and sometimes that is all people need.
In conclusion do I think that the financial industry will change its culture? It all comes down to what the CEO’s really believe in and that is what will win out in the end.