I’ve been focusing on organisational culture lately and whilst thinking about this article it made me also think about our culture as a City. Fresh on the heels of a local football Derby where the manager has made the (obvious, it certainly reflects our flag?) comment that “Devon is Green and White” (often chanted from the Devonport End), it is really interesting that culture is a mix of things to the people who live not only in Plymouth, but in Devon. At the football match last weekend, the Exeter fans claimed that Devon is Red & White... again, a close link to their City colours and culture.
How does Plymouth reflect its culture, and how does our county of Devon reflect culture? Do we just have one culture as a significantly sized, mix of urbanisation and rurality? The answer, as with many large organisations, is of course we don’t have a single culture. There is a pride in being from Devon, but probably stronger pride in associating ourselves with the part of Devon we live and work in, be that a City or a village. The trick for us as a county wide Chamber is to find what we do have in common, in order to maximise our lobbying power and economic impact utilising the commonality whilst celebrating what makes our county so diverse.
So how do we know what a culture is? In terms of organisational culture, there is lots of work undertaken to identify what the Board / owners of organisations would like the culture to be, alongside consideration of what culture is actually being enacted by the teams inside an organisation. This takes time, and as a Chamber whose identity has evolved over the last couple of years, it is fair to say that we are establishing that culture, and recognising the diversity of our members so that we can truly deliver what they are expecting, and identifying how we can support them well.
As a Plymouth based Director, I think as we begin to mark our journey towards Mayflower 400 we can see how maritime and adventure has shaped Plymouth’s culture, and with the Enterprise Zone in South Yard taking shape I believe we will be maximising the opportunities that this particularly unique element of our culture helps us to deliver in terms of exporting and manufacturing, not to mention innovation and research. Mayflower remains strong in our language and our thinking, and it’s also the name of our oldest stand at Home Park...! I wonder where my cultural reflections are centred?