How Cultivating The Right Culture Underpins Your Family Business

Richard Shrapnel's Orienteering Succession blog

Having the right culture in your business will underpin its success, equally so, a weak culture will destroy all your efforts to succeed.


Active Knowledge Question:

Can you recognise and describe the culture within your business, and is it the right culture?


Culture is who your business would be, if it were a person. Culture allows you to do some things well and others poorly. Culture is your business’s personality, traits and attitude. It must be crafted to support your purpose as a business and to enable it to compete to its greatest capacity.

The responsibility for culture starts and finishes with leadership.

It starts and finishes with the way leaders act and the culture they allow to exist. It has nothing to do with the public statements or public policies that are put in place. It has everything to do with their actions and what they allow to occur on their watch. It has everything to do with the people they appoint to leadership positions and the personal character of those people.


‘A culture that represents a unified whole where everyone contributes to the best of their ability and are encouraged by the whole to make that contribution.’ – Imelda Roche, founder of Nutrimetics, on ‘We Culture’.  


There are a variety of factors that will mould the culture of your business, some of which you as a leader can influence, they are:

  • The history of the business and how that may have moulded who the business is today.
  • The world views of the business and how that is represented in the business’s motive, success and failure.
  • A deep dive on what success looks like in your business.
  • An honest consideration of, what I would describe as, leadership’s faith in the business.
  • The design of the organisation, being how it functions and delivers on its competitive posture.

In addition to this, in a family business, the values and dynamics within the family will directly impact the culture of the business.

As a family business leader, you must not only craft and monitor the culture within the business, but you must also ensure that family value and dynamics support that business culture.


A final quote to reflect on by Max Beck, co-founder of Becton Corporation, ‘It is the owner’s upbringing (the type of person they are) that will establish the culture of the business.’

Next week’s leadership theme: ‘Achieving a customer focus’.


An entirely new level of performance.

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All the best in the success of your business,

Richard Shrapnel