Valuing a powerful corporate culture

Group Wise leaders instinctively understand the power of a strong, positive corporate culture for their organizations. In a time of disruption and uncertainty, it’s even more important to build a culture that enables people to embrace change.

Over the past six years, as CEO I can assure you that Grant Thornton has invested heavily in our culture journey — building trust, inspiring curiosity and promoting collaboration throughout the organization.

Beyond just a poster on the wall, we work hard to bring our culture to life in our everyday work. We start every leadership meeting with a “culture conversation,” and more than 80% of our people have participated in a two-day, immersive culture seminar to explore how personality traits and interactive styles affect teamwork.

Culture is a tangible asset that dramatically impacts our business at Grant Thornton. I hear from clients that our people embed our culture principles in their work — and the clients love it! In fact, our culture is often a selling point. Not too long ago, I received a call from a company interested in our services but under a single condition — that we provide culture consultation to their leadership team.

It was then that I knew our culture transformation was truly creating value. But I think my most rewarding moments are when I’m sporting my Grant Thornton polo at the airport and strangers tell me their company is a client of ours, name Grant Thornton team members who have served them on an engagement and rave about our team’s dedicated work ethic. This tells me that Grant Thornton’s investment in our culture journey is working.

Not only do we hear it from our clients, but also our results show it. In addition to our 9.3/10 client satisfaction score, Grant Thornton was also recognized as #4 in Vault’s best accounting firms to work for in 2019, as one of 2019 Top Companies for Executive Women by the National Association of Female Executives and one of 2019’s Top 100 Best Companies by Working Mother.

This journey is ongoing, and as our culture continues to grow stronger over time, so will the trust in our team — the key element to empowering people to be their true selves and bring their best ideas forward.

Initially, some partners expressed concern about investing in what seemed to them a “soft side of business.” About a year into our culture work, one particularly skeptical senior partner approached me with tears in his eyes, explaining the dramatic shifts he was experiencing in his relationships with his colleagues, friends, spouse and even his kids — and how the firm’s values had inspired a fresh perspective in his life.

Our experience with culture drives home for me that there really is no “hard” or “soft” side of business. There are actions that create value and help the team succeed, and those that don’t. I believe our focus on culture is the most important thing we’ve done in my career here — and the foundation for our growth and success.


Mike McGuire Mike McGuire
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