Why it’s all about culture!

Today’s blog post is by 10Eighty CEO and Founder Michael Moran. He has a passion for helping people maximise their potential and believes everyone should have job Michael Moransatisfaction and a successful career and helps organisations design jobs and career paths that maximise employee engagement. 

I’m a big fan of Jacob Morgan’s Future of Work podcast series, he interviews entrepreneurs and business leaders who have some really creative and energising ideas. His recent interview with Jonathan Neman of Sweetgreen, a start-up food company, rang a lot of bells for me, a positive peal of them in fact. Sweetgreen has a very strong company culture that focuses on passion and purpose. I reference the article on Linkedin last month.

This is a touchstone for me, my whole career has been about my passion for helping people maximise their potential and I believe everyone should have job satisfaction and a successful career. At 10Eighty our motto is “work hard, do good and along the way have fun”. I believe leaders need to foster a culture of curiosity and encourage employees to learn and grow as part of their working life.

Interestingly Neman defines Sweetgreen’s culture as: happy, humble, hardworking, curious and coachable. That picks up some other enthusiasms of my own, I am keen proponent of lifelong learning and the value of curiosity. I want to work with people who are keen to learn, want to find things out and how things work, eager to try new things, not afraid to ask questions and take a risk sometimes; people who will pick up the ball and run with it.

I believe that what leaders need to do is to create a meaningful employee experience for their people. This is not just about employee engagement but also about creating a great experience for customers that goes above and beyond. Sweetgreen are on a mission – working for them is not just a job they want their team to understand that there is a greater purpose both from a company and community perspective.

I’m a big sports fan, as regular readers will know, I think business can learn a lot about team building and motivation from some elite coaches. I was happy to hear that at Sweetgreen they view the work as a team sport. Leadership and good management are important but in no organisation can one person do it alone. Work is cross functional so collaboration and knowledge sharing are key. I believe it’s important to hire for attitude, look for people who will share the credit and have positive intent.

Another thing that struck a chord for me was the assertion that humility leads to wanting to hire people that are better than you. Hire smart people and then let them get on with it; micro-management doesn’t bring out the best in anyone. Empowerment and autonomy make this work, good people don’t want to be told what to do, they want a goal and then to be trusted to give it their best shot.

Live your values

At10Eighty we emphasise the value of curiosity and the pursuit of learning for its own sake. Neman thinks that velocity of learning is what matters, the right attitude to problem-solving. We want to work with people who are curious, coachable and committed to personal development. That means it’s important to have real conversations about goals, exceeding the day job, development work and stretch assignments.

Jonathan Neman’s advice for leaders:

·        Connect to your mission

·        Don’t just put values up on the wall, make them real action items for everyone

·        Allow your team to co-build the culture together

·        Understand that your culture will evolve over time


Creating a great culture is, simply, the right thing to do. It’s not HR fuzzy feel-good thinking, because employee engagement makes a difference to productivity and profits. Ensuring your organisation is a great place to work is the right thing to do for the team, it makes the workforce happy, makes the customers happier and makes more money, it’s a win-win-win situation.

Michael is Chief Executive of 10Eighty. 10Eighty is a career and talent management consultancy that helps organizations maximize the contribution of their employees by ensuring satisfying jobs and careers for their employees. Michael is a Human Resources professional, having worked in the National Health Service, Insurance, Commodities and Derivatives industries. He has worked within the career coaching business for fifteen years, both managing a £7 million business and delivering bespoke, one to one career coaching. In the last 15 years Michael has run businesses that have helped 75,000 people make successful career transitions. He is a frequent commentator in the press/media, which includes a range of topics on “successfully managing your career” and talent management. Most recent media mentions have included BBC South, CNBC, Radio4, Financial Times, City AM, Financial News, Evening Standard, The Sunday Times, The Grapevine and HR Magazine, to name but a few. He writes a careers column for People Management, a blog for the Human Resources Magazine and is a regular contributor to The Thompson Reuters HR Portal. Michael is known as a thought provoking speaker in the HR industry. In the last 18 months, Michael spoke at the Careers Partner International Conference, NHS breakthrough conference, NHS North West Leadership Academy, London School of Economics, University of Westminster’s Talent Management Conference, ICAEW Finance Directors Conference, CIPD learning and development conference and CIPD branch seminars. He is also Chair of the CIPD’s Central London Branch. Additionally is a non executive director of Marshall ACM, an e-learning company and the Total Reward Group, a compensation and benefits consultancy. Michael plans to publish his book “The guide to everlasting employability” in the Autumn 2012. He has just launched an iphone app “careers snakes and ladders” and an online interactive version of the book in collaboration with Marshall ACM to coincide the launch of his new business 10Eighty. Michael has a degree in Economics, a MBA from Warwick Business School and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. He holds an accreditation from the British Psychological Society for the use of psychometrics. Michael has completed the Fairplace Internal Accreditation Programme, the training element of which is externally recognised by the Association for Coaching. Michael Moran was until January 2012 Chief Executive of Fairplace and a main board director of Savile plc, the career and talent management consultancy. Fairplace is part of the Savile Group, an AIM listed plc. The Savile Group was placed 16th in the Sunday Times top 100 small companies in 2010.

Posted in Corporate culture
One comment on “Why it’s all about culture!
  1. Jimmy Jacobs says:

    Extraordinary post, and awesome site. Much obliged for the data!

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Michael Moran – CEO 10Eighty

A blog about career and talent management, things that might help you with your career and in your job.


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