Sarah Janes considers the building blocks of culture which will give SMEs longevity.
I’ve just finished reading a 2014 report – Keeping culture, purpose and values at the heart of your SME – written by CIPD whose mission is to “champion better work and working lives”.
Employees’ sense of purpose and values steer company culture.
CIPD’s research reminds us that culture is not static; it can be affected by internal and external events, small and large. If not attended to, and reinforced, it can take on a life of its own and values and purpose can become diluted and even lost over time.
Small organisations frequently start life working on their founder’s principles. Often these principles are enshrined in an oral culture, and practices initiated in the company’s early stages. This works effectively with a small team bound by shared ambitions. Problems can arise, however, as the company grows until – one day – they reach a ‘tipping point’ when ever-widening cracks in the company culture become noticeable, signalled via behaviours that demonstrate the fact that people ‘just aren’t getting the culture’ anymore.
This is the moment to take stock and evaluate the way the company’s principles are currently operating. Have the founding principles scaled up effectively? Can the existing culture withstand the knocks, crises and personnel changes which are inevitable in the early growth cycle?
A laissez- faire culture has the potential to derail a company.
Events and changes in the organisation have the potential to derail what you’re all about. A major security breach could quite easily be one of those tipping points with the potential to fracture a fragile culture. A breach requires an immediate response to ensure business continuity; if the existing culture is not robust, the response is likely to be at odds with the behaviours a company wants associated with its brand. We have seen, time again, that even larger, well-established brands can lose all sense of their guiding principles and values when dealing with a crisis such as mass data loss.
Security should be a keystone in your business culture.
Business consultant and author, Jim Collins, believes that cultures are resilient only in so far as they embody core ideologies which “gives a company both a strong sense of identity and a thread of continuity that holds the organization together in the face of change”. For any company starting out in the current climate, a vision which doesn’t position security as its cultural keystone is greatly increasing the risk of crumbling under pressure. It’s as important as your product, your finances and the people who work for you. A vision that makes peripheral the safety of the company’s assets is one which customers would be wise to steer clear of. If, however, it’s there from the beginning you are increasing your company’s chances of being an SME that stands the test of time.
At Dramatic Developments we have unique, tested, and highly effective methods of developing a positive security culture in your organisation.