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Behavioural Culture - Ridgeline

Behavioural Culture


Who is Erik Vermeulen?

Erik Vermeulen has been a Business consultant and international Keynote speaker since 1994. He specialises in Corporate Behaviour strategies, allowing companies to create more profitable behaviours by examining how their teams work and how they interact with their employees as well as their customers. Erik explores trends and behaviours that have shaped the business world, and ones that will be required to motivate and improve performance in a post-recession business world where corporate spin become less powerful than customer and employee experience.
He has the ability to create an immediate total emotional and mental connection with any audience, from Executive level to Sales groups and Service delivery teams. He has a stage presence, an energy which captivates, and most importantly, he delivers thought-provoking and take-home style content. This makes him an automatic choice to speak on human capital, motivation and people-related business issues.

He has served long-term consulting contracts with some of the world’s largest companies and leaders in the global marketplace. His clients have found that Erik has the ability to put plenty of real-life business issues into perspective and offer realistic alternatives to team and leadership issues. He is frequently singled out for his enthusiasm, down to earth attitude and refreshing approach to people.

Erik believes that you cannot motivate people, since motivation is intrinsic. He takes a highly effective behavioural approach to leadership that allows him to influence what people are motivated to do! He makes use of techniques in thin-slicing, Behaviour Management, Mind Management Skills, and attitude adjustment to find small changes that make big differences in people, companies and their customers. He shows companies how to build “virtual” teams which include both their employees and their customers, making a significant impact on the bottom-line.

Culture as part of your Brand

Many companies and non-profit organisations seem to think that their brands are reflected in having the right logos, taglines, mission statements and stories.

While we all understand that Starbucks and Southwest Airlines and Walt Disney are great brands, there seems to be a limited grasp of what makes them so.

These companies are insanely focused on making sure that every experience and every point of contact with their people, products and services shape their brand from the inside out. It’s not just about doing better or marketing better than the competition. It’s about being better.

When customers have a consistent experience over time with you, your products and services, they come to expect that same experience every time. That’s your brand promise. Your brand strategy, is this:

“Brand strategy is the process of aligning what we say with what we do, to positively influence what customers think.”

It sounds simple, but if you think through the ramifications of it, there’s really nothing more difficult. It isn’t about better communication or more effective marketing. It’s about developing and delivering products and services that align with your brand promise. It’s about employees who consistently meet the expectations you’ve set. It’s about delivering on that promise even when there’s every temptation and justification to maybe dial it down a notch or cheat a little because times are tough and what you’re doing is hard.

People will judge your organization by the experience they or someone they know has with your brand 90 percent of the time and only 10 percent or less by the marketing messages they’ve heard.

  • Branding is not a part of the business, it is the business
  • A brand is about experiences, not logos and taglines
  • The little things that you do consistently are much more important than the big things you say
  • A brand strategy is the single most important differentiator between a good company and a great company

Saying that you deliver great customer service, care about your employees or operate with integrity is meaningless. Doing what you say you stand for, day in and day out, is proof that these qualities are woven tightly into your organization’s culture. No marketing campaign will convince someone you’re great at customer service when they’ve had a lousy experience that demonstrates just the opposite.

Why a designed culture?

All companies have a culture – whether by design or default.

A company’s culture is the environment created by the priorities it sets, and it perpetuates itself through the experiences of employees and customers.

Sometimes those priorities are made explicit: in a company’s formal mission statement, for example, or in the structure of the organisation and the power given to different departments and functions. Sometimes they are implicit: what the Financial Times once called “the large number of unspoken assumptions and beliefs which managers in the organisation share about ‘the way we do things around here’”.

It therefore stands to reason that if a company is not achieving the results it wants; it needs to look at the behaviours that created the results. And since all behaviour is governed by people’s environment, we need to create an environment that will support and encourage the actions that lead to achieving company goals.

Several things shape a corporation’s culture:

The Culture Development Model

Much has been written, tried and tested in the field of Culture Development on a corporate level. Particularly in South Africa, where we are faced with several global as well as uniquely South African challenges when looking to instill an effective corporate culture in our companies.

These challenges include:

  • Cultural Diversity
  • The number of young professionals entering the workforce
  • Fast growth, particularly in the FMCG, Construction and Services industries
  • Unionisation of the SA workforce
  • Global Economic Crisis
  • Mergers and take-overs as competitors consolidate
  • Growing uncertainty relating to job security
  • How to create a sustainable culture that is driven by behaviors.

In response to this, we have developed a process-based model that allows for the creation of a culture that “gets off the wall” and into every employee’s day-to-day behaviour. This process allows for both management and employee input and takes into account personal as well as company goals. It allows us to create a set of value-driven behaviours that makes people at all levels of the organisation accountable for their actions. Only the correct behaviours will lead to the employees and the company achieving their goals!

The Process

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