Organisational Culture: Business is ALL about Energy

Aug 24, 2017 | Blog

So you’ve now detoxed your business, how do you keep it in shape and ensure it is best placed to deliver great results? In this blog, strategy expert Gaynor McIntyre talks about organisational culture and how important it is to manage the ‘energy’ of a business…

Yes, yes I can hear you already, “Look at that title, what is she on?”

… but it’s true, business really is ALL about energy.

I was scrolling through LinkedIn very recently and I spotted this fantastic quotation:

“The culture of any organisation is shaped by the worst behaviour the leader is willing to tolerate.” – Gruenter & Whitaker

Just think back… have you ever worked anywhere, an earlier job or your current one, where the atmosphere is one of fear and negativity? Also think about where you were the happiest and why that was?

My first job was with ICI plc, at the height of the eighties.

The effervescent Sir John Harvey ‘colourful tie’ Jones was at the helm and when he visited our manufacturing site, the first thing he’d do was to march into the dining room, find the catering manager (who was also the Shop Steward) and give her a huge hug! Employer / employee relations were strong. We worked hard but we played hard too. The atmosphere was one of encouragement and positivity and days sometimes even involved cocktails at lunch! It was a great place to work and the late Sir John created that.

Then I moved back up to Scotland and worked for an organisation where everyone was scared of the boss. What I couldn’t get over was that before even meeting the guy I found myself scared of him too! On reflection, this was utterly preposterous but in how many places is this still the case?

When clients want to talk to me about changing their culture I have to remind them that it is often the founder of the business or existing leader who is ultimately responsible for creating the energetic tone that seeps through the DNA of the business.  To put it simply – “how it feels to work here.”

I had a very frank conversation with one owner several years ago. I had been invited by the American owners of a UK subsidiary to look at one of their factories in Scotland.  I rolled up pleased as punch and left at the end of the day feeling that I’d been beaten to pulp as, one after one, streams of drained staff rolled in to see me and poured their hearts out (using the most venomous language you can imagine). Many just sat down in front of me and wept.

The MD was a complete ogre and totally unable to communicate effectively with his team. Needless to say he didn’t last. The owners subsequently brought in a ‘Mr Dynamic’ and the business literally shifted over night. Six months later and I was delighted to meet a happier workforce who was all starting to enjoy their place of work. Staff retention was up, absenteeism was down and there was a genuine commitment to staff development. The new chief, who had both emotional intelligence and commercial acumen, knew exactly which buttons to press to create real trust and a positive energy in which people could thrive.

So my question to you is this: who is managing the energy within your business, does it feel right and how are your people feeling today? How is the organisational culture?

Answer those positively and pat yourself on the back! You are well on your way to realising the full potential of your business.

Business strategy expert Gaynor McIntyre has over 20 years of consultancy and business coaching experience and has worked with many clients to help them detox and refresh their business.  To discuss your business needs and goals and how our Strategic Planning service can help you call us on 01383 721421 or email

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