Can we Turn Corporate Culture into Competitive Advantage?
Let's take an example from the very competitive IT industry, where only a handful of companies stand out. One of them, Centiro, is repeatedly recognized as a Great Place to Work in Sweden in specific and Europe in general. Centiro is a logistic software firm from Borås who are transforming the world of technology. The Gartner Group calls them a "cool vendor." What makes them cool is their ethos ofcreating a competitive advantage through corporate culture.
But what does it take to be among the best places to work for in Europe?According to Centiro CEO Niklas Hedin, "I always call the customer and ask them, why did we win? And they will most of the time say, 'It's about your people, it's about the way you interact with us and the feeling you create'"
According to Hedin, the company's "culture and people in the organization are our competitive advantage."We're a technology company, and you could emulate our technology in no time these days, and you could copy a lot of stuff. But you cannot copy culture that easy. Culture for me is purposeful design. It's not something you just get. It's something you actually invest in every day."
"Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first." - Simon Sinek
The formula for a great company culture is worked at. In Centiro, Hedin says, a "Culture of effectiveness was built in the organisation to support this implementation we cooperated with a worldleading company in creating lasting changes in human behaviour. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is our operating system. It's the way we think, the way we talk, the way we deal with the customers and each other."
Implementing an efficent culture across the organization and keeping that culture alive requires investment everyday, according to Hedin.
Culture for me is purposeful design," Niklas says. "It's not something you just get. It's something you actually invest in every day.""After the workshop we created an action plan of simple behaviours that create our culture for the next 7 weeks. Then we repeat it...We encourage people to sit down once a week to go through stage by stage, habit by habit, and talk to each other."
There's a difference between a nice place to work and a great place to work. It's not just about nice people and a good environment. It's about the principles people live by every day. Centiro has found in the 7 Habits a formula for greatness in an industry packed with companies less focused on company culture.
What would be the impact on your organization if it were a "7 Habits culture"?
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