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Executive Search Topics: Leveraging Company Culture To Deliver Strategy

May 2021
Alexandra Lekkou
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A Q&A on the Stanton Chase and Hofstede Insights global partnership

In this interview, Piotr Gryko and Alexandra Lekkou delve into the partnership between Stanton Chase and Hofstede Insights and highlight the key benefits of organizational culture management.

Stanton Chase is expanding the scope of its partnerships with its clients on a global level. Can you give us an overview of this development and your new service portfolio?

Alexandra Lekkou: The value we bring to our clients is always a result of our awareness of the business world, our expertise in leadership evaluation, and our experience in understanding the culture of organizations. Our new portfolio of solutions around leadership and organizational culture is built around these core capabilities of Stanton Chase. Thus, we are broadening our scope by offering the full services of organizational culture transformation and leadership assessment and development with the primary objective of providing insights to support management decisions and growth on an individual, team, and organizational level.

How do you approach organizational culture management, and what makes your approach unique?

A.L.: Stanton Chase found its ideal global partner in organizational culture management in Hofstede Insights, a global leader in this field that was founded with the support of Geert Hofstede 34 years ago and which translated his academic research into practical solutions for businesses. What makes our approach unique is that we manage culture as a strategic advantage for the organization. We start from the company’s strategy and translate it into the most functional organizational culture in terms of enabling its delivery. We use modern, data-driven tools for our measurements, and we provide data and knowledge that make culture manageable through practical interventions.

Where do organizations see the biggest positive impact of effective culture management? Can you share examples for the added value it brings?

Piotr Gryko: Above all, effective culture management significantly increases the probability of successfully implementing the organization’s strategic plans. What gets measured gets done. And we can now measure something that used to be vague and intangible. More specifically, we can expect significant positive results in the areas of financial results, mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations, employee experience, and brand.

Noor Bank is an impressive example of results we’ve seen in financial results. One year after its implementation of a culture management program, it achieved the highest percentage increase in total assets and net profit among all banks in the GCC.

For mergers and acquisitions, it translates into faster attainment of performance target levels. For example, in a recent M&A in the pharmaceuticals industry, thanks to cultural due diligence, the partners managed to shorten the entire post-merger integration by 44% compared with similar projects conducted without the cultural component.

Companies are also able to more smoothly reorganize, allowing for easier transition considering the characteristics and practices of different functions and teams, as well as trust levels, leadership acceptance, and change readiness.

Effective culture management increases employee motivation to stay and make discretionary efforts, as well as identify with the organization, which positively influences attraction, retention, and engagement.

Lastly, it enables customer experience alignment with the brand promise through the improvement of processes and the modification of employee behaviors. As an example, a global FMCG brand used our Consumer Cultural Intelligence methodology and improved its global marketing campaigns with a 30% increase of brand recall.

Organizational culture management and leadership development are very relevant in a period of uncertainty and accelerating change. How do you see businesses act in these areas these days?

A.L.: Nowadays, we have both successful business case studies and research findings that highlight the impact of effective leadership and a functional culture on the achievement of business results and the value of an organization. So, we see an increasing interest in investing in these critical areas. The unprecedented crisis of 2020 made the impact of culture and leadership on an organization’s ability to manage challenges even more visible.

It is telling that in a survey we conducted among senior people management executives, organizational culture transformation and leadership development are among the top three topics on their agendas. At the same time, organizational culture is considered one of the top three potential barriers to company goals achievement.

We believe increasing investment in organizational culture and leadership will play a key role in the sustainability and evolution of businesses going forward. And this requires a strategic approach and robust methodologies, which will support the capability of an organization to change, through qualities like flexibility, growth mindset, and trust.

About the Consultants:

Piotr Gryko is a Senior Partner for the Hofstede Insights MENA regional office in Dubai. His focus is on organizational culture, change, and cultural transformation, as well as intercultural management and leadership development.

Alexandra Lekkou is a Director of the Stanton Chase Athens office, where she spearheads leadership and organizational culture services.

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