Culture is not soft talk. It is a strategic tool. Beyond good climate and relationships, it should be made to promote the business and its goals.

Culture directs in some unobtrusive and continuous way the company’s people as to how they should think, behave, and act.

Because of that, it is of major importance to any company. It follows then that a company should not leave, by lack of proper action, its culture to develop randomly and multiply at the hands of the informal power groups in it. In building a culture, a company should find it more practical to think of it as having two distinct natures:

a)      The relationship nature – This helps to hold the company people together in the best possible harmony and it has as building elements universal principles like honesty, humanity, ethics, good manners etc.. When successful, it promotes trust, understanding, and cooperation and becomes the foundation stone on which to build the next level, the business nature of culture, that follows.

b)      The business nature – This promotes the company’s strategic intent and serves to direct the business emphasis on particular business issues like on efficiency or on customer relations or on innovation and new products. When successful, it directs and aligns people towards the company’s goals.

Each of the two parts by itself cannot give a whole meaning to business culture. To have (a) alone, it would be like operating a societal club which requires its members to respect some principles that hold the members together. Without implying that such bonding is of secondary importance, it alone doesn’t sufficiently serve the purpose for which business exists.

Equally important for the company, it is that its people share the same direction in the way they weigh up the importance and priority of issues and in the way they reach decisions in their daily work. In other words, there is a need to have on top of (a), a new set of values this time relating to business and the business intents – defined above as the business nature of culture (b).

Both natures are necessary; the business nature part would stand on a void if a culture doesn’t have (a), and the relationship nature part without (b) would be aimless in want of a business purpose.

To nurture both equally well serves the business in many practical ways: A good relationship environment in the company gives people a decent, respectful place to work in, while a strategic business climate will continuously and unobtrusively direct them to align their work with the company’s business values and strategic intents.


Footnote: For those with further interest in the topic or in other management services: Panikos Sardos is the Managing Director of P&E Sardos Business Solutions Int., a management consulting firm that offers advisory services, coaching and training and can be reached by email: or telephone: +357 99640912, +357 24400884,