Cooking a great culture

Read a great article over on Inc. about Nick Sarillo and his pizza restaurants.

It tells about his unorthodox hiring process, about his talent development and his $200k consultant’s bill. But essentially, it’s about his business’s culture.

Culture is surely one of the most intangible aspects of business and as such can be the most frustrating. The culture can all too easily be clockwatching and pilfering in an entrenched oligopoly, but if you’re looking to push scale or improve net profits then you’ll find it almost impossible without the correct culture – whatever that is.

Culture in a company dictates whether you follow a 50,00 word business plan religiously or you hand the bank manager a one page outline of your ideas and put your best foot forward. Fred Goodwin’s culture of ‘win at all costs’ crippled RBS and Dick Fuld’s sent Lehman off the cliff. Culture is what Scorsese and Spielberg embody in their actors before letting them navigate a scene.

Isn’t this all really HR’s job? Well, I’m afraid I see too many organisations with HR departments that seem to treat their jobs in two facets: personnel operations coupled with a fear (and avoidance) of legal proceedings. Do you know many HR folk who treat their fellow employees like those at Nick’s Pizza & Pub? I’m sure you know more who would say that it’s not their remit, that line managers and supervisors should push those boundaries, not HR.

In an entrepreneurial business like Nick’s the form filling takes a distant second place to structure, satisfaction, autonomy and development. If your culture’s right then surely the marketing becomes the story of that result?

Image from Inc article here.

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