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The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) annual conference gets underway in Leicester today and with it comes the opportunity for small business leaders across the country to have their voice heard in the national press. As with many conferences although the headlines will come from the speeches and debates, the real work will be done behind the scenes as delegates mingle and share concerns and success stories in equal measure.
We sometimes lose sight of the fact that every business was small once. Every multi-national conglomerate, every world-striding bank started with a single voice or at the most with a small group of individuals with big ideas. Along the way some will have failed, some will have reached their optimum size and not need to grow any further and some will have grown beyond their founders’ wildest dreams.
And the same is true of today’s crop of small businesses. Whether they grow into world leaders or stay as small businesses, those which last will have as their founding principles the culture instilled in them at the outset. This culture will have been shaped by subsequent interactions, by the force of outside events and by every change in personnel and leadership. And as the culture changes it interacts with the vision to shape the future of the organisation.
There is nothing wrong with the business culture changing; in fact if it didn’t the chances are that the business would stagnate and die. But what is important is that the business leadership continually monitors the culture, encouraging strong healthy growth and turning the business away from trends which might lead to a toxic culture where employees are disengaged and silo mentalities and petty rules stifle innovation and growth.