Organisational Culture is vital for success.  Leaders of the organisation design the culture by setting certain expectations, providing guidelines, having rules (or no rules), for the employees.  It’s amazing how different culture can be from one organisation to another even in the same industry.  I’ve worked in organisations which are “fast, fun, and collaborative”, “uptight, must wear suit and tie, career before family”, “relaxed and supportive”, and “just dull and boring”.  I am also lucky enough to be one of the leaders who influence creating the culture.

In a consulting organisation, the employees work with different clients, different teams, different locations, and different cultures.  Consultants need to adjust themselves to the cultures of each client organisation they work in.  While that’s great, it is important to bring them back into the internal organisation culture.  I’ve learned this the hard way and lost some great employees to my clients.  It is important to create opportunities for the consultants to get together and have a fun, casual conversation.  Otherwise, they may not see each other for months.  Isolating the employee is a surefire way to lose them.  In my current organisation, I actively encourage my team to play a game of “ping-pong” (table tennis) during lunch or coffee breaks.  We go out for drinks or lunch and recently started a fitness session on Monday after work.  Consulting can be stressful at times.  It is important to get your mind off work for a short time to let it recharge.

It is interesting that even within the same organisation in different locations, a subculture is created.  When I joined the current organisation, there were only 4 others in the Melbourne office.  While all 4 of them left the organisation shortly after, we have now grown to 20+ over the last year.  Our main office is in Perth which is thousands of miles away.  Melbourne office culture is far different from the Perth office culture.  I am not suggesting one is better than the other.  They are just different.  It is not necessary to enforce a certain culture into an organisation, as long as the current culture works well for employees and the organisation.

Over the years, I have experienced firsthand the impacts of mergers and acquisitions in consulting firms.  In some occasions, the great existing cultures were destroyed.  In other cases, the acquired company’s culture was stronger even if it was a smaller organisation.  Stronger cultures can have a significant influence to even alter later organisations.  I’ve seen mass exits of employees straight after acquisitions.  As leaders, it’s important to foresee the impacts of cultural differences and invest time and money to integrate the two or more cultures effectively.

The value of culture is difficult to quantify because it’s invaluable.

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About the Author

Nadeeja Bomiriya is a Microsoft MVP, Chapter Lead – Dynamics 365 Saturday – Australia, Committee Member – Melbourne Dynamics 365 User Group, Technical Architect, and Dynamics 365 Practice Lead who lives in Melbourne, Australia.

Disclaimer: This blog post contains opinions of my own and not the views of my employer.

Practice Management – Part 5 – Culture