Why Culture Matters in Service Delivery

Do you have a department, service, or team where something just isn’t quite clicking? Seen an increase in complaints or a drop in performance? How do you find the underlying cause of a problem area?

In this blog, the third in our series about troubleshooting and service reviews, our Managing Director Lucy Trueman discusses the importance of understanding culture when reviewing services.


We often get asked by clients to help them understand a service area or team that’s underperforming and identify potential improvements. Our recent blogs on process maps and performance data share our thoughts on why these are important and popular tools. That said, our third component, people, is often neglected. There’s something factual and logical about process maps and data, that gives managers a sense of comfort that recommendations are sound, but done in isolation, without considering the culture of the team risks an incomplete picture, and recommendations that won’t land.

Getting a full understanding of how things actually work for the people delivering the service is crucial. This enables you to spot potential issues around:

  • Leadership 
  • Decision making 
  • Hierarchies  
  • Sense of customer service 
  • Staff morale 
  • Ways of working 

Culture is often considered aloof and mysterious, difficult to grasp, but we consider culture to be the ways in which messages are cascaded around the team/organisation. Culture can show itself in:

  • Complex decision-making processes that can slow staff down and disempower them 
  • Leadership behaviours that empower (or disempower) staff 
  • Routines and rituals that communicate to staff what’s important 
  • The stories told and narratives shared on a day-to-day basis 
  • The systems and processes which we impose on staff (and customers) and how they drive behaviour 

When you start to consider culture in these more tangible ways, rather than something mysterious, it really helps to identify blind spots and contradictions in culture, which might be driving the wrong kind of environment for your team, without you even realising.

The truth is, as leaders, we are ALL shaping the culture of our organisations every single day – the question is, are we doing it on purpose or by accident?


Learn more about our culture mapping service here and if you would like a confidential chat about culture in your organisation contact Lucy at lucy@truemanchange.co.uk

By Lucy Trueman | 13th December 2023

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