A company you truly believe in stays relevant beyond the sale and continually strives to remind you why you like them in the first place. Companies are a lot like people. You like some, you don’t like others. Those you like tend to share the same beliefs as you; and not just when they are trying to sell you something. A company you truly believe in stays relevant beyond the sale and continually strives to remind you why you like them in the first place. That, in a nutshell, is the outcome of a successful corporate culture.
Jack Welch once stated that “no company, large or small, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it” In modern business, the notion of success is built on the concept of the triple bottom line; an idea that a company’s survival depends on profit, but that profit should not come at the expense of the planet, or the people and communities in which it does business. These goals are achieved thanks to the hard work and dedication of a company’s people, part of and guided as they are by a corporate culture that is consciously shaped and refined. Doug Conant, of Campbell Soup fame, once stated “to win in the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace”.
Research has shown a positive correlation between revenue growth and well-positioned company values; if people feel they are part of a greater whole, they increase efficiency, by up to 12% according to some findings. These employees are motivated and, importantly, are willing to put part of themselves into the work. How much so is largely defined by the overarching corporate culture of a company and how they correspond to the personal values of the employees. It’s often the case that those companies with strong corporate cultures ‘rise to the top of the pile’. Apple, Google and Twitter are regularly cited as having a strong, communal corporate culture which employees enjoy being part of, and customers guiltily enjoy hearing about. But you don’t have to look far for great examples of corporate culture in Europe.
Take CTP, for instance. CTP CEO, Remon Vos, a Dutch national, has lived in the Czech Republic for more than 15 years. His strong personality has been instrumental in the development of a truly unique corporate culture, certainly within the commercial property sector. Remon has borrowed the best of both worlds; the Dutch creativity and flair, and the Czech pragmatism and problem-solving attitude, to create a company that thinks on its feet and rewards bold and direct action. Recently, the economist redrew the map of Europe. It shifted countries around according to where they ‘should’ be based on various factors such as economics, outlook, sense of humour, ability to work with others. The Czech Republic was relocated north directly next to the Netherlands because, according to the article, the ‘well-organised Czechs would do very well next to the Dutch’. Vos on what makes a good corporate culture: it’s built on honesty, having an entrepreneurial spirit, dealing with people on the level, being reliable and having an open mind to new ideas and novel solutions.
Corporate culture at CTP is built on honesty and an entrepreneurial spirit. Vos often tells staff that they can have as much responsibility as they want. In practice, this means that the company is very flat, built on those individuals sharp enough to spot an opportunity and take it. Take CTP employee, Tomas Budař. When Tomas joined CTP after his pro-football career, he was looking after a small property in Brno. However, after carving out a name for himself, he rose up the ranks to Regional Director of south Moravia, overseeing 1/3 of the entire CTP portfolio. CTP is not all about work. The company also invests in fun and interesting external projects, which don’t directly impact the bottom line in the traditional P&L sense. In 2013, CTP bought the rights for the Doksyrace ironman triathlon, which takes place annually in August on Machova lake, Czech Republic. The event is wholly organised by CTP staff, many of whom participate in the 115km race. Over 300 professional athlete join CTP each year for the race. Like any other successful company, CTP is growing fast, which brings its own operational and cultural challenges. Nowadays, CTP is made up of people of many nationalities and beliefs. Americans rub shoulders with Romanians, and Irish knock knees with Poles. But that’s what will help drive growth. The new CTP, Vos concludes, remains open to new challenges and new perspectives; we keep an open mind and remain committed to the core principles that got us this far: honesty and an entrepreneurial spirit.