“Creating the Business Culture that You Need”

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When:November 17, 2020 @ 1:45 pm – 4:45 pm
Where:Zoom Executive Forum
Contact:Beth Kingsley-Rowe

01383 223353


(How to craft and sustain the culture your organisation needs to thrive)

Executive Summary

A great business culture is built on 4 things, right? It is where:

  • Everyone feels valued
  • Everyone’s voice can be heard
  • We work hard and have fun
  • With inclusion and diversity every day

Wrong! Nothing bad about any of these, but you could have all of these in place as your business crashes towards liquidation and extinction. They are not enough! – Particularly in times of Covid.

Having a “great” culture is vague and is mostly how people feel about working for an organisation. But that does not mean that the organisation is effective or has the potential to grow. Some third-sector organisations have fantastically welcoming cultures yet are hopelessly inefficient and potentially fragile. (Many others, by the way, are very professionally managed)

In business, a “great” culture is one that supports the purpose and ambitions of the organisation. Being a good place to work is part of that, but there is more.

If you have an organisation that is ambitious to grow, then having a culture that embraces new clients, new staff and possibly new products is important. The culture also must include performance delivery and accountability.

Workshop Background & Truisms

The bedrock of a strong culture is a resonant purpose (that people can buy into and be proud of), supported by the set of core values that shape behaviours and guide key decisions. Many companies have all the right words in place. But if they are only words then their usefulness may be limited to some marketing opportunities

Having the right culture is one of the best ways of ensuring that an organisation can achieve enduring success. Patrick Lencioni has written extensively about how teams need great performance and great culture to endure. James Kerr’s book “Legacy” shows how the culture of the All Blacks is the key driver that has made them so successful for so long. Most of us can accept that culture is important even if it sometimes feels a bit nebulous and undefined!

The biggest influence on the culture in place today is the culture that was in place yesterday. It takes time and effort to change attitudes and behaviours. Staff pay more attention to their peers and direct supervisor than they do to the board of directors. If we have no option but to start from “here” – where is our culture now? Not what we hope, but what we can test?

Workshop Content

The workshop  content is focused on addressing a series of key questions around the theme of :

“What are the practical steps that we can take to build the culture we need?”

This is an interactive session in which Bob Keiller our speaker will share insights on company culture and values and the practical steps required to craft and maintain a positive company culture. One or two examples of companies who talked a good game around company culture but ultimately failed to live up to it will be shared

Bob will pose some simple questions that help to shine a light on the culture in place in a company, especially medium and larger organisations. We will discuss the implication of these questions .

Smaller organisations can have great cultures without ever needing to write anything down or explain why they behave the way they do.- eg The SIBL members collaborated  happily and effectively for 12 years before participating in an all-day workshop at Tulliallan to synthesise, determine and write down their values that are featured on the homepage at www.sibl.org.uk      .

For core values to make a difference they need to shape and define the culture of an organisation. This often manifests itself in key choices and decisions. If our decisions are not in line with our declared culture and values, it can quickly erode them. Participants will look at the role of core values in key decisions using a short case study in groups. Three scenarios, one tricky question for each.

Note: The role of leadership and its relationship with creating a culture is obvious – but it is less obvious how this translates into practical steps. This too will be discussed and explored.

Workshop Output

The facilitated processes, as outlined in the above content, provide delegates with a comprehensive and extensive map of key questions to help navigate their review of their own links between values, culture, purpose and route to survival and ideally beyond that to growth.

SIBL is an eclectic mix of diversified members, each at their own stage of development and from across all three sectors. It follows that whilst Bob Keiller will impart the underlying framework for likely success, and signpost the way forward by asking judicious questions, the actual output of the workshop rests with the active participation and sharpness of the individual delegate.            

The Bob Keiller Story( CBE FREng FIET):  In a nutshell.

Bob Keillor
Bob Keillor

Bob’s childhood ambition was to paint fantasy LP covers for Heavy Metal bands. He realised that jobs might be limited in this field (even before the launch of the CD in the early 80s) so he decided to “do engineering” in order to have a “trade to fall back on”.

This led him into Hewlett Packard and then into the oil and gas industry. Over 30 years he changed roles, on average, every 18 months and changed employers, again, on average, every 3 years. He has worked for oil and gas “Operators” (the companies like Shell and BP who run the offshore facilities) and on “The Darkside” working for service contractors. He has worked offshore on various platforms before being promoted onshore.

He climbed the management ladder and travelled far and wide.

In 2004 he was promoted into the role of Managing Director of the Production Services sib-division of the KBR subsidiary of Halliburton. He realised that the corporation did not really value the part of the business he was running so led a Management Buyout, raising the $280m purchase price with a plan to float the business on the London Stock Exchange after 5 years and return the money to investors with a healthy margin. Turbulence in financial markets made an IPO impossible so Bob led the sale of the business to Wood Group for $1bn. He merged the two businesses and then took over as CEO of Wood Group in 2013. He  committed to stay for 5 years after the sale (on a handshake)  – and stayed for 5 years… and one week. During his time as CEO of PSN the Wood Group he bought and integrated a further 15 companies.

He has chaired various bodies including the Offshore Contractors Association, Oil and Gas UK, Entrepreneurial Scotland, and Scottish Enterprise.

He now spends four days each week, unpaid, helping other people. He provides training, coaching, mentoring and consultancy services for companies in the private sector, public sector organisations, social enterprises, and charities. He does this because he can and claims that he would get bored playing golf or lying on a beach.

Footnote: Bobs’ achievements have been recognised with awards including: Entrepreneur of the Year in 2006 and 2008, Scottish Businessman of the Year in 2007, Grampian Industrialist of the Year in 2008 and Scottish Male Business Leader of the Year at the 2011 Scottish Leadership awards. He was awarded a CBE in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Notes a)Access codes for this Zoom on-line event will be issued within 48 hours of the start time.

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