Founder Chris Grove discusses his passion for cycling and how it can can be used to create a better work place culture.

There's no doubt that in the business world, culture has moved up the corporate agenda; evidence of this is the work of the Financial Reporting Council and its 2018 UK Corporate Governance Code. The code calls on companies to establish “a corporate culture that is aligned with the company purpose, business strategy, promotes integrity and values diversity".

At BDO this is something we are certainly striving to achieve and being chair of our internal ‘Unifying Culture’ Board, it is something I am really passionate about. As some of you may know I am also a passionate cyclist, which got me thinking – are there lessons we can learn from cycling that might help us achieve our goal?

​Cycling Team Ineos got off to a great start last month, winning the Tour de Yorkshire overall. Along with the obvious sporting headlines, there was also no shortage of headlines about the team's sponsor and billionaire backer, Jim Ratcliffe.

If Team Ineos is to replicate the success of its previous embodiment as Team Sky, Ratcliffe's financial backing will undoubtedly have a part to play; he has deep pockets!  However, whilst less tangible than extensive financial resources, much was made of Team Sky's “winning behaviours" culture, which saw the team secure six Tour de France wins in seven years with Wiggins, Froome and most recently “G". The team even went so far as to appoint a “head of winning behaviours" in the shape of Fran Millar (sister of ex-pro David) and further developed their thinking into an app. Key to their approach was aligning everyone behind the team's vision, supported by the right behaviours and attitudes. 

Aligning an entire workforce behind a common purpose is becoming widely recognised as one of the best ways to deliver on goals and objectives, ultimately leading to an improvement of a business' performance. Conversely, a poor company culture is one of the quickest ways to disengage employees and demotivate a workforce, resulting in a detrimental effect on productivity and overall performance. 

At BDO we spend a lot of time highlighting the importance of culture. It is after all, the people behind any business that drives its success; that’s particularly true in a professional services business. Any business should aspire to continually evolve and improve their culture, so they can address directly the causes of many workplace challenges. At BDO we believe that everyone has a part to play, in celebrating good behaviours and in challenging and calling out behaviour that isn't aligned to our core purpose and values.

In today’s world, I believe that a healthy culture is fundamental, not only for a successful cycling team but for any business that wants to succeed in an increasingly competitive environment. 

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