Why corporate culture is the canary in the coal mine

In days gone by it was possible for larger businesses to hide their corporate culture from customers. There were less interaction points, no social media, one way communications that could be carefully orchestrated and controlled.

Those days are well and truly behind us, corporate cultures are exposed to the elements and many of them are not pretty. What often stands out to customers is the lack of co-ordination between departments, “am I talking to the same company?”. This is usually the result of a lack of understanding of the real customer experience and how to manage that across multiple departments.

A tool we have developed as an early warning signal (our Canary) for executives is called the “Market Responsiveness Index”

This tool helps executives gain some insight into how the organization’s culture maybe enhancing or hindering its strategy implementation and ability to drive business performance. It specifically addresses collaboration (1 of 7 market-driven behaviors), and allows executives to benchmark their performance against top firms around the globe.

Results indicating issues in collaboration act as a signal and catalyst for executives to address these issues or face the consequential poor business performance.

What is your canary in the coal mine?


For those of you unfamiliar with the term, here is an explanation from WiseGeek:

“Life for an actual canary in a coal mine could be described in three words – short but meaningful. Early coal mines did not feature ventilation systems, so miners would routinely bring a caged canary into new coal seams. Canaries are especially sensitive to methane and carbon monoxide, which made them ideal for detecting any dangerous gas build-ups. As long as the canary in a coal mine kept singing, the miners knew their air supply was safe. A dead canary in a coal mine signalled an immediate evacuation.”