Company culture encompasses a set of unwritten rules about ‘how we do things around here’. It often resides in deeply seated beliefs and mindsets that drive behaviours and determine how people approach problems and take decisions.

Many successful CEOs, including Steve Balmer, the former CEO of Microsoft, Tony Hsieh, the Founder and the CEO of zappos.com, Lou Gerstner, the former CEO of IBM and Dharmesh Shah, the co-founder of Hubspot have been known for making culture their priority and for attributing a lot of their success to being able to shape the right culture for their organisation.

According to Deloitte’s recent Global Human Capital Trends, “Culture has become one of the most important business topics of 2016”.

Researchers confirm that an effective culture offers strong competitive advantage and that it can directly and significantly impact company’s bottom line.


Remember that jolt of energy that flicks a switch in your whole body, akin to electricity, when you are driving without full attention and a child runs out into the street, and you can only hit the brakes if you find your presence? Or think of the energy you feel if you are followed by a stalker and you need presence to outwit them. Or the surge of energy when you catch a stranger’s eye and share a moment. Or the moment you understand an idea, the clouds part in the mind and light enters – you can only be enlightened when you are present.

– Patsy Rodenburg, “Presence”

I was recently at a cocktail party, where I found myself talking about presence to complete strangers. It all started with the dreaded question:

“So, what do you do for a living?”

Given how many times this has happened in the past, you’d think that I would have nailed the answer by now. But, no. Not me. Instead of saying something simple and powerful, I started meekly:

“Well, I’m an organisation development consultant…”.

One look at my interlocutor and I knew that I might as well have said: “I’m a Nanotechnological Bioinformatics System Integration Researcher” or “A Curator of Non-Marine Molluscs”.