What’s a great business culture? An interview with Andy Scoble, Management Consultant

Family values, big ambitions

What does it mean to have a good business culture? Most businesses are starting to understand that having a strong business purpose affects performance in many ways. At Pentland Brands, our family history and our values are, and always have been, a big part of what differentiates us.

In discussions about gaining a competitive edge in 2019, our CEO, Andy Long, said: “we’re a family-owned business so we can take long term decisions and we recognise the benefits of having a great culture and team. What makes us special is that we care about people and we believe in the power of the collective.”

Our purpose is ‘building a family of brands, for the world to love, generation after generation’. A year ago we launched our Manifesto and Principles; designed to reflect who we are today and to guide who we want to be as an organisation.

Our Principles are:

  • Success is a team game
  • With clarity and courage
  • Better as standard
  • In good conscience

Living our Principles

To bring our Principles to life, there was a need to make them tangible and relevant to everyday actions, so we invited Andy Scoble, a Management Consultant, to help us create behaviours to do just that.  

Andy said, “We spent time with the Executive team to talk about the future of the business and the kind of behaviours that will be needed. We also ran a series of focus groups, in both the UK and Asia, to understand from a cross-section of employees how they felt the Principles would come to life through each behaviour. Finally, we benchmarked good practice from other organisations, academics and consultancy firms, to create a simple but effective behaviours framework.”  

Through a unique series of workshops, Andy then used the behaviours to help bring our Principles to life. For example, believing that ‘success is a team game’ is, in practice, about ‘working together’ and ‘communicating and connecting’ with each other.

Not just a poster on the wall

“As an external person, when I come to Pentland I feel the strong Pentland culture, from the team on the security gate when they welcome me, to when I check-out at reception. It’s in the entire employee experience, from initial interview to end of year feedback sessions. In contrast, at some organisations there can be a clash between the words up on the wall and what happens. What’s really important is the continuity between what you say you do and what happens in practice.” said Andy.

As a business, we believe that every individual has the power to shape the Pentland of the future, and we rely on our people to do just that. “If you’re describing the Pentland culture to a friend, you don’t get out PowerPoint slides or websites”, Andy said. “Having worked with the business for seven years now, the organisation is rich with fantastic stories about the culture, principles and the behaviour of the people here. It’s all about how making sure Pentland passes that across the organisation, generation after generation.”