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Blog Posts

Creating & Sustaining Values and Culture
The third entry in our Business Growth Blog Series written by our CEO Dr Graham Wylie

The Harvard Business Review (my favourite bedtime reading) has a lot to say about this stuff. “Strategy is critical, but culture eats strategy for breakfast” is apparently a real quote.  So of course, we have a documented strategy (the alternative is a game of dodgems where you go round and round in circles bumping into stuff and getting a sore neck), and of course we have a culture (this is, by its nature, not written down but rather ‘acted out’). We try to guide people, but there is plenty of evidence to say that values and culture are only marginally impacted by what you write down, somewhat more impacted by what you say and mostly dependent on what you do as leaders. It is clear that the best way to understand us then is to come and meet us.

So, this is an invitation – come and discuss with us how to best use Home Trial Support in your trials and from your own view of the MRN values and culture. For those of you who can’t make it – here is some woefully inadequate written stuff.

MRN values Teamwork, Engagement and Creativity. I spent days working on those three words with large groups of the company several years ago now – an exercise we are about to repeat. It was fun, and truth be told the single most common word people used to describe us was indeed ‘fun’. I did not put it in the statement because it is an outcome, not a value, but it is part of our culture. I could write for hours on the details behind these, but that would be deadly boring. Suffice it to say, when I induct new people into the organisation I talk about teamwork as trying to avoid any ‘us and them’ behaviour, engagement as achieving fulfilment from your work and creativity as intellectual problem solving because no clinical trial goes according to plan and so we need creative problem solving as a key skill of our people.

Culture is even harder.  When I talk about this – which I am sure I don’t do often enough - I ask people to treat each other humanely. Being human is a phrase I use a lot, as it is so all-encompassing, but people still seem to understand what I mean – we are not a corporate machine, treating people like simple resources. Rather, MRN is a community of 140 plus people who spend a lot of time together and have to rely on each other to achieve what they need to achieve to do their jobs and who have to rub along with each other every day in a way that leaves people feeling glad they work here, and not wanting to bring down mayhem on someone who used their coffee mug today. We don’t expect people to leave their emotions at the door – these are the very things that make us human – but I do expect people to treat each other well, be pleasant and accommodating and to do their best for each other as we are typically all striving for the same thing – to do our work well.  If, along the way, we can have a laugh, do a bit of socialising, give to charity and feel we have done something good in the world, then all the better.

There is one area in this section that is probably the most actionable, which is Engagement. So, I have dedicated the next blog in the series to that alone.

Come back next week for Graham's next instalment and the conclusion to part three on Values, Culture and Engagement.

Posted by:
Toby Heath
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