Culture: is it female or male?


There are real shortages of talent right now. Good talent is open to move and being attracted in tangible and intangible directions.

More money, better conditions: measurable, rational, logical, and defendable. This is the tangible path. 

‘Decisions of the Head’

The so called ’left brain’ path is a measurable force likened to radiance or propulsion. It reaches in a male sense that is gender unspecific.

More opportunity, more growth, greater purpose, following my passion. This is the intangible path.

‘Decisions of the Heart’

The so called ‘right’ brain path is an immeasurable and intangible force likened to absorption or attraction. It awaits the reaching in a female sense that is gender unspecific.

As humans we use the logic of the head to justify the decisions of the heart.



I will lean on a model for learning I have adapted as my own which is based on the work of Bernice McCarthy called the 4MAT model.

Why is Culture Important?

Appealing to ‘The Head’ as your primary strategy to attract talent is a ‘talent as a commodity’ approach whose extreme leads to disproportionately high rewards and a mercenary- like culture.

Appealing to ‘The Heart’ as your primary strategy to attract talent is a ‘servants of adversity’ approach whose extreme leads to a cult- like culture.

Life calls for balance and the culture of your organisation is no different.

Your organisational culture needs to be one that through effort to understand it and engage with it (a kind of courtship if you will) becomes attractive by unfolding. The way in which the culture reveals layers and dimensions that can only be described as ‘potential’.

What kind of potential?

The potential that each person can grow into and feels free to grow into.

A potential where one’s personal effort is distinguished by its clear contribution to the organisation’s purpose.

Cultures like this feel rare, but less so now.

If you have an organisational culture like this you will keep good talent.

If you have an organisational culture like this, you will attract good talent.

My personal journey into people management for the first time came as a reward for overachievement.

Gets to a point when you feel like you have outgrown your role and opportunities to advance become attractive from a commercial sense (‘Head’) and from an intrinsic sense (‘Heart’).

My employer became sensitive to my desire for transformation and offered me a Sales Manager role.

I got screwed and this is how:

  • The new Sales Manager role did not come with a higher reward. It came with less.

As an overachieving salesperson on territory, I smashed my targets and was compensated with commission.

As a sales leader I got a higher base salary with a much lower commission based on the accumulated performance of all those salespeople now reporting to me.

  • I received no training for the new role. In sporting terms, I was encouraged to be a Captain Coach.
  • I was left to adapt to a culture which challenged me to move from a societal position as peer in my team to the Leader of that team

When I reflect on my decision, I recall that my employer played to my ‘Heart’ in a way that allowed them to retain my expertise for less money than before.

“Remember when selecting the candidate, you need to know three things”

Interviewing for new salespeople for the first time was an extension of yet another management skill I was untrained for.

This is the second time I have referenced being untrained as if I was a victim.

I could have sought training, but I felt it would be a sign of weakness. 

“I have got this!” I thought to myself.

I did get some advice, however.

I have observed that when faced with learning something for the first time this advice tends to become remembered for a lifetime.

“Remember when selecting the candidate, you need to know three criteria” was the advice offered me by my National Sales Manager at that time. 

I was eager to hear what these three criteria were and further energized in the confidence that I could retain three criteria in my memory without forgetting them.

What is Culture

Culture can be written down but if this is done with the intent that it is remembered then it doesn’t last long.

I could remember three criteria, and this was the recruitment advice I was given:

You need the strongest match to ALL three of these criteria I was told:

  1. Choose the candidate who has the skills to do this job
  2. Choose the candidate who wants to do this job
  3. Choose the candidate who fits into your existing culture the best

I distinctly recall the weighting I gave to these three criteria and culture was a long last.

I thought that so long as I liked the candidate and felt I could work with them then I had a tick for the culture box.

How naïve!

An attractive organisational culture has champions.

It is a delicate business creating ‘subject matter experts’- SME in a business. Training from within is cheaper than engaging and depending on an outside agency.

In theory it is also more scalable.

The challenge is to find SME’s who have the credibility to be effective and who will stay within the organisation long enough to justify the investment made in them.

Culture champions are different from SMEs in that they are woven into the fabric of your organisation.

SMEs typically divide their time teaching others while good Culture Champions perform their role by being exemplars.

Culture’s sustainment cannot rely on symbols like:

  • Table tennis tables in the breakout area
  • Framed pictures of company values in the corridors of corporate office or
  • Pithy statements made into posters that adorn breakout rooms and video conference backgrounds

Culture is a belief.

It is the force of belief that drives discretionary effort.

Discretionary effort that is not measured in terms of fatigue or resentment but is understood by its personal impact on the desired revenue outcomes needed by the business.

These are beliefs in the business purpose and direction that encourages discretionary effort in a way that energizes your teams which is so important in hybrid work environments.

How Culture

Perhaps better to consider how NOT to manage an attractive culture:

  • Don’t define it based on consensus alone
  • Don’t appoint a Manager of Culture and delegate the responsibility of its management to a single leader
  • Don’t look at cultural transformation as an event


  • Makes sure the Head of.. stamps their authority on the cultural beliefs required to meet the desires of the organisation
  • Delegate and hold accountable the leaders whose support is essential to lead the culture
  • Commit to a long-term investment and program of cultural transformation
  • Communicate what your teams need to know to understand how they directly contribute to the outcomes desired
  • Influence team’s belief in your culture by demonstrating consistent experience of its desired manifestation

What if?

Your organisation attracted talent because of what it feels like to work with your organisation?

Your team members felt comfortable and were skilled in offering constructive feedback?

Your team members felt comfortable and desirous to seek and integrate feedback?

Your customers or Channel Partners saw your organisation as a united team rather than as always wanting something more from them?

The energy of Diversity and Inclusion is represented by the nature of your organisational culture.

Does it attract or repell?

What if you contacted Culture Now to learn about what is possible?


Murray Grimston is a founder of Culture Now and is the sales, marketing and facilitation muscle in the team having spent over 30 years in sales and the last 10 years in his own business driving process and common language using Miller Heiman sales methodology through key corporates. Murray gets people and authenticity.

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