When we chose the name of our company we wanted something which embodied what we’re all about but which made people think a bit too! In an age where there is so much information available with one quick google search (see how many results there are for ‘managing change’, for example) our training is designed to make people think too. We don’t want people to give up their valuable time simply to find out facts that they could have discovered on the internet. You see – having the knowledge is one thing but applying the skills is a whole different ball game.
Which comes back to our name. When we really, really thought about what was at the heart of what we do we realised it was about helping to create a culture. Not just any culture but the right culture. Culture’s a tricky thing because you can’t actually see it but it really does define an organisation.
I like to describe culture as ‘the way things are done around here’ and the example I often use is timekeeping – specifically in relation to meeting start times. When I turn up to some of our clients for a 10 o’clock meeting I know that, at 10 o’clock, everyone who is due to be attending will be in the meeting room ready to start, having been to the loo, got their coffee, remembered all their documents etc. Other clients with whom I have a 10 o’clock meeting are unlikely to get going until closer to 10.30 by the time everyone is totally ready…and often the start is delayed because the most senior person isn’t ready at 10 o’clock so other meeting participants ‘just send one more email…’ I’m not making a judgement here, just an observation…
You see, one of our favourite quotes is ‘strategy is what you say you’ll do and culture is what you actually do’ and, of course, leaders set the tone – if, at the most senior level, the expectation is that meetings will start on time with everyone ‘present and correct’…that’s what’s likely to happen throughout the whole organisation.
You might remember back to your biology lessons that agar is a medium for growing culture (our logo is our very own petri dish!). We love helping organisations to decide what culture they want and need and then helping them to grow it!
Dee Cooper, Director, Agar Management Consultancy