Culture is at the heart of every organisation and can dramatically shape its success or failure. It influences and guides the behaviour of individuals as a complex living and breathing organism. Without coherent guidance and empowering vision, a culture can potentially become detrimental to the organisation and, in an extreme case, may cause it to implode.
During my 5-month placement at Fenwick, I have been exposed to some of the fundamental parts of their culture that are a sure recipe for success. It is almost impossible to encapsulate the entirety of a culture in one blog post but I’m going to focus on some of the key aspects that I have witnessed.
I was invited to Friday night drinks the week before I started. During that night I spoke to almost everyone in the organisation – be it a Director or a recent graduate – I couldn’t see the difference in the way I was treated; people are respected and trusted for their knowledge and skills rather than their title. Since then I have had many chats (some formal and some not so formal) with the CEO for help, or even with the Chairman, and feel more confident within myself.
It’s interesting to note that the cultural norms within Fenwick aren’t maintained from structure and compliance (albeit they do play their practical roles within the organisation) but from loyalty and trust. By fostering meaningful relationships based on mutual trust; creating a common vision and engaging the staff; and keeping everything transparent; allows everyone to have a sense of accountability and a passion for excellence. This cultural flow is a very important part of Fenwick and is stated on the first page of employee induction pack.
In my brief time here, I was entrusted with an important client project that involved quite a bit of analysis and development. The balance of co-operation and autonomy allowed me to not only complete the project on time but also strive for excellence and be accountable for the results.
In conclusion I want to leave you with a quote from Gandhi: ‘No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive.’