I have spent more than 40 years building businesses and coaching business leaders and management teams around the importance of culture within their organisations.

When we exited Sorbet, I wanted to distil my knowledge and experiences into a business philosophy and framework that other South African businesses could understand and replicate within their own teams. We have called this philosophy CultureneeringTM, and the individuals who champion it within their organisations, Cultureneers.

CultureneeringTM is a fresh approach to business success. It is sharply focused on creating a company culture that is driven by its ultimate Reason for Being and the core values of the business. The concept of CultureneeringTM goes way beyond the notion that culture is just “the way we do things around here.”

Instead, it’s a philosophy built upon a deep conviction that a common purpose of obsessive customer service can only ever be achieved when a group of diverse people have risen above their historical conflicts of interest and have come to understand, accept and tolerate their differences. It is only when each member of the community cultivates a true sense of belonging and commits to the common purpose of service before all else, that South African businesses will be able to forge ahead and create wealth for all. 

CultureneeringTM and Culture-Driven Leaders

At the heart of CultureneeringTM is the leadership style that will support the changes that you need to implement to drive sustainable personal and business growth within your organistion.

Culture-driven Leadership is a type of leadership based on a true motivation to grow others through a deep and entrenched business culture that puts people first.

The culture-driven leader believes in the philosophy of CultureneeringTM, which states that culture and the bottom line aren’t just related – culture is the bottom line.

  • Culture-Driven Leaders work from the bottom up to build a nurturing community culture that has a solid foundation of service and upliftment, providing support, encouragement, equal treatment, effective communication and mentorship to employees, so that they in turn give exceptional service to customers.
  • A Culture-Driven Leader uses the toolkit of CultureneeringTM to single-mindedly build a common purpose across the full spectrum of employees, which puts the customer at the centre of everything. They develop the skills of their people and build their self-esteem, thus enhancing their ability to continuously improve their service to others.

And the result? A sustainable, growing, profitable business that delivers on the moral obligations of South African businesses to lead the charge for change.

The Role of Culture-Driven Leadership

Business leaders in 2020 and beyond need to set an example to government to show what can be done when:

  • Culture is built around a set of moral values that puts people first and is entirely focused on customer service
  • Trust, respect and community building become the foundation of a culture that everyone can believe in
  • Employees have a sense of belonging regardless of their group or background
  • Serving others becomes the common purpose and greed, corruption, discrimination and bias are thrown onto the trash heap of history.
  • The upliftment of all our people stands at the forefront of our future

Then, and only then, can we start to rebuild a country out of the ashes of a misguided national culture.

Culture-driven leadership has nothing to do with personal power or status. Instead, it is a type of leadership based on a true motivation to grow others through a deep and entrenched business culture that puts people first.

Rather than wielding power and fear from the top down, the culture-driven leader works from the bottom up to build a nurturing community culture that has a solid foundation of service and upliftment.

This new breed of leader should provide support, encouragement, equal treatment, effective communication and mentorship.

They single-mindedly seek to build a common purpose across the full spectrum of employees, which puts the customer at the centre of everything. They develop the skills of their people and build their self-esteem, thus enhancing their ability to continuously improve their service to others.

Embracing CultureneeringTM as both a philosophy and a toolkit will give you the mindset, reason for being and moral authority to lead in today’s complex and fast-changing modern business environment

Make Culture Your Bottom Line

Many leaders struggle to see the connection between culture and the bottom line. I strongly believe that culture is the bottom line. Building sustainable profits without a strong underlying culture is like fighting a battle without the will to win.

Through this new breed of effective culture-driven leaders, we can start to rebuild a country that is in dire need of change. It will provide the moral compass to reverse the South African culture of rugged individualism, greed and corruption.

It will foster improved relationships in the melting pot of diversity and create workplaces across the country that are inclusive and equal. Ultimately, business leaders must play their part in creating a platform for a unified South Africa. The time for culture-driven leadership has come.

Here are 11 steps that you can take today to build your business on the philosophy of CultureneeringTM: 

  1. Identify a crystal-clear reason for being; the ultimate purpose of the business that acts as a guideline for everything that happens throughout the organisation. Bear in mind that your reason for being needs to go way beyond making sustainable profits. It must rather be focused on the customer and your contribution to the betterment of society at large.
  2. Define a set of core values that shape the beliefs and behaviours required to achieve the company’s reason for being. The values should not be mere words in a document but values that can be actioned and measured.
  3. Get every employee to understand that the purpose of work is to serve others and not merely to earn a salary. Money is always the result… never the purpose.
  4. Create a sense of belonging and a common purpose of service for all the people in the company, regardless of their differences.
  5. Develop skills and knowledge in order to improve the service to others
  6. Encourage positive attitudes towards their colleagues, their customers and the broader community.
  7. Build self-esteem, self-confidence and sense of self-worth.
  8. Create a place of safety in which people feel free to speak their minds without fear of victimisation.
  9. Foster a community of respect and acceptance amongst all the different races, cultures, religions and genders.
  10. Inspire people to motivate themselves.
  11. Serve the people who are serving the customers
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