PwC: Business culture aligned to strategy is key to success
What is the culture in your company? According to consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) a business culture aligned to your operating model and strategy can leverage future success.
PwC defines an organisation’s culture as ‘self-sustaining patterns of behaving, feeling, thinking and believing’ which they report if shaped to align with business objectives can offer a competitive edge.
A new report from PwC on business transformation reveals that in a Global Culture Survey, conducted by the Katzenbach Centre, 80% of organisations agreed their culture needed to change significantly for their company to meet its goals.
The advice from PwC in the report, The critical questions facing organisations: And why culture is the answer, is to “target a few critical behaviours to energise your culture and this will help move your business and strategy forward”.
“With remote working becoming far more common as a result of this global pandemic, it is also important for organisations to focus on engaging people in the process of rebuilding and revitalising their culture, while ensuring it is aligned to their operating model and strategy.”
Evolution of business culture
The report points that no complex business tends to have a single, simple culture in a similar way to not having a singular strategy or operating model.
“Strategies shift in response to forces in society and markets. Operating models are constantly disrupted and improved to keep up with emerging technology and changing customer expectations. Similarly, organisational cultures need to evolve in harmony with strategies and operating models to provide the appropriate environment and energy for the overall success of the organisation,” comments PwC.
“This agility of organisational culture and alignment to strategy has become particularly important in the current climate where change is constant. Companies must take a hard look at their culture to determine whether it is helping or hindering strategy execution. If it's hindering, it may be time to look at an ‘evolution,’ which can be achieved by focusing on a few critical behaviours.”
PwC highlights how one of their clients overcome financial distress by implementing three key behaviours in the culture to improve performance. The case study focuses on a global automotive manufacturer plagued with a slow risk-averse culture.
Three key behaviours include:
- Understanding which cultural traits need attention. In this case focus-groups were held by senior executives with ‘Authentic Informal Leaders’ - employees who exert influence from the bottom up.
- Quick decisions should be made. The senior team cancelled a product line expansion in weeks not years in PwC’s case study.
- Meaning and motivation. “Employees were put in direct contact with their customers more often to help employees gain greater meaning and motivation from their work,” said PwC.
“Ultimately, the effort resulted in faster decision-making, increased accountability, and improved customer and product focus - all of which culminated in what is considered one of the greatest five-year turnaround stories in automotive history,” comment PwC.
“The good news is that all organisations can learn from this example.”
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.