The Culture of Growth

As members of the Ingenuity network will know, one of our key aims is to make University of Nottingham expertise accessible to the local business community. Our latest breakfast event featured speaker Dr Robert Cluely, Associate Professor in Organisation Studies from the Nottingham Business School who was joined by Dr John Collins of Professional Coaching Alliance.

Robert kicked off the morning by sharing a case study from his research, from a small company which followed them through their growth journey.

The company work space began as a studio with music playing and a lot of social events after hours. As the company grew, the space changed into a more traditional office space, a space for equals. The atmosphere changed, the music changed, and a lot of people resorted to putting in their headphones to concentrate.
Finally, the space changed again to have a divided space, e.g. a boardroom for the middle managers, this divided the team into levels of management which countered segregation through the creative space.

As the company grew, the culture split. The organisation became more predictable, leading it to be less motivational.

Robert left the audience with three key points to take away:

  • Not all employees are the same, we all work in different ways
  • Success and growth can be disruptive so need to be managed effectively
  • Culture is key

John then took to the floor to share his thoughts on business growth, from a business perspective. He started by explaining The Adizes corporate life cycle which every business is bound to go through. He explained that business complexity, trying to please all staff etc, is the main reason most businesses do not get beyond 10 employees.

John outlined the barriers which prevent growth; talent and skills gap, leadership capacity, finance and the infrastructure. Interestingly, 1.5m SMEs are not growing and don’t want to grow.

John left the audience with four key points to take away:

  • It all comes down to culture
  • Collaboration is key
  • Be aware of your ecosystem

Our next breakfast event will take place on the 26th November with Dr Lucy Bradnock Assistant Professor in History of Art and Tim Bassford, Creative Director of Spinning Clock. Don’t miss out, sign up here!