Culture always wins


Culture always wins – it is stronger than anything else. This was a key message from Matthew Croxford, Partner and National Head of Human Capital at Grant Thornton, in a recent presentation for Women on Boards.

Matthew, who has also consulted with Human Synergistics for the past 14 years, has seen how good culture can be created and enabled and knows it does produce results. However not all boards and their organisations get how critical culture is and do not give it sufficient attention.

Companies are usually over invested in financials; but if we moved this sort of focus to culture then we would do ok,” Matthew said, adding that culture also lagged health &safety on most organisational agendas.

Culture is about expectations for behaviour, versus actual behaviour which is all about outcomes. Imagine raising children on outcome measures alone? We would create monsters. We have to be careful about being overly focussed about outcome measures in organisations, which can be obsessed with them.”

Matthew commented that culture is also not about keeping people happy, motivated, engaged, but about setting the expectations that create the environment where these outcomes might result.

He cited research conducted between Oxford University and Grant Thornton which looked at the connection between profit and culture via a survey based upon a cross-industry survey of 500 executives and 500 employees in the United States. It found the metrics were better when the culture was healthier. The report is available to (download here - ((
Matthew outlined that in constructive cultures people need to: 
  1. Know; that culture is a governing mechanism that drives outcomes.
  2. Think; how culture is formed through the design and structure of organisations’ systems, procedures, rites and rituals. “Like the Monday morning 7am stand-up that occurs in Australia – a cultural expectation that everything is done very early – how do you fit in and get ahead when you aren’t an early morning person.”
  3. Do; think about how culture is formed and nurtured in their organisation; ”what you do in the moments that matter.”
  4. Say; ask questions that consider both the cause and effect and be mindful of the  consequences.
  5. Feel; emotions and be empowered to make changes.
GrantThornton released a podcast this week where Matthew talks about how to go forward after COVID now that we are returning to the office. It is available at in podcast apps (Apple and Android) under Grant Thornton.

Latest newsRSS