Balancing Culture and Commerciality

Insights | 02 November 2017

I wear two hats at PM-Partners, I focus internally on our people and talent development, and externally with clients on organisational change and culture. We are frequently asked – how do you balance culture and commerciality?

I typically respond with: how do you not balance culture and commerciality if you run a business or are responsible for performance?

And, do you regard culture and commerciality equally or which do you favour?

Various literature and studies have identified that organisational culture is associated with performance. Some professionals suggest it creates an invisible advantage.

My background has spanned 30 years in Finance, HR and Organisational Change, I know from experience you can’t sustain one without the other because culture is driven by your people and people drive business outcomes.

Without engaged people, you limit business performance, and of course, with limited business, you’ll surely have no need for all your people. But just imagine what talented, driven, engaged, motivated, valued people will do for business.

So, the question of balancing culture and commerciality becomes less a case of ‘how do you’ and rather one of ‘in what proportion’?

The foundation principle that your people are your business has not changed, regardless of what new terms, what new communications applications or new business models are introduced into society.

Cultural change used to be poorly executed and considered a soft skill or discipline that barely warranted a commercial justification. Today, together with brand management and customer experience, it’s placed at the heart of any good business, not least because disruptive technology is forcing us to change and even transform so rapidly.

There are three steps you can take:

  1. Lead by example: culture is driven from the top, and your employees need to see the company’s vision and mission alive in the workplace, not just on your website.Tweet: Culture is driven from the top, & your employees need to see the company’s vision & mission alive in the workplace
  2. Assess: be aware of individuals’ appetite for change and use it accordingly. People who prefer stability are as valuable to your transformation as those who need variety.
  3. Check in: constantly check in and measure how individuals are managing, both their day-to-day workload and ongoing development. It’s easier to keep people and projects on track while the change is taking place, rather than when it’s too late and the project is off course or someone wants to leave.

Great commercial businesses can trace their success back to the focus they place on proactively managing their culture and developing their talent, and how willing they are to manage a culture of change. And that’s something that’s never going to change.

At PM-Partners we’ve been evolving our clients and our own business successfully for 20 years, and we attribute this to our people and creating a visible bond between People and Performance. We have change managers working across a number of large transformations playing a key role alongside programme and project managers in leading, facilitating and co-ordinating engagement with stakeholders.

If you’d like to know more about how we can help you or about any of our Organisational Change Services please get in touch 1300 70 13 14.

About The Author

Leanne Griffiths, Head of People and Culture and Principal Consultant for Organisational Change

Leanne’s extensive qualifications and experience encompass leadership roles in business and technology as well as customer facing and operational leadership roles

Throughout her distinguished career Leanne has always adopted a consultative and pragmatic approach and has utilised this and her extensive Portfolio, Programme, Project and PMO Management skills to improve and transform businesses and their technology departments.

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