Being true to your values may take a little bit of reflection

Like a chameleon, the environment at Barnett & Turner is changing. And it’s all to do with the unique ‘Culture Club’ set up by Jono Wilson - Here, he makes the case that every organisation can benefit from a little open discussion, reflection and renewal to get the best out of any team!

When you manage a business, it can sometimes be too easy to keep ploughing on in the same direction. After all, you’re preoccupied with day-to-day pressures and deadlines. But it’s healthy to take stock once in a while and reflect on the way that everyone interacts with one another and the expectations we have for behaviour.

That’s exactly what we’ve done recently at my own accountancy firm. Barnett & Turner has been around for 110 years or so and as a business we continue to learn, change and improve. So I have brought together a group of staff to form what we’ve called our ‘Culture Club’ to review, redefine and take ownership of our business culture, ensuring that we play by the right rules to maintain a positive environment for us and our clients.   

It’s a process that I believe could benefit almost any company.

We have a range of people involved. Some are client-facing fee earners, while others work behind the scenes. There’s a good male-female balance and a variety of ages, so we get a healthy range of perspectives. 

Our aim is to focus on what we need from each other as people, to ensure our continued success both as individuals and as a business. We started out by considering who we admire externally – friends, sportspeople and others with a high profile. Could we bring some of their traits and habits into the work that we do here?

After plenty of discussion, we’ve produced a ‘play-book’ which pulls together the cornerstones of what we consider to be our unique culture and how we want the firm to be – for us, it is much more than just a mission statement or staff handbook! The principles include making a difference to our clients and each other, being true to our values, ownership and trust, honesty and commitment and solution based thinking. We’ve also included fun and positivity - it’s important to show some love!

We’re currently preparing to present our play-book to the wider team working in the business and I admit to being excited at the prospect, as everyone has been so engaged in the process so far. I’ve also found that it’s given me a new lease of life and motivation as a leader. 

Our intention is to use the Culture Club as a talking point with new recruits and to share the play-book in interviews. It means we can be quite clear and up front with them: “This is who we are and what we expect. Do you feel that you will fit in and are you excited at the prospect of joining B&T?”

Over time, the values will become a benchmark for appraising our work and behaviours. We will challenge ourselves to check that we’re living up to our aspirations and embracing the culture that we have collectively agreed to create.

It takes a little time and commitment, but I really believe it’s worth the effort and I have no doubt that it will help us get the best out of each other. Perhaps it’s time to consider creating your own version of the Culture Club?

If you would like to discuss anything related to this article please do not hesitate to call Barnett & Turner on 01623 659659 or email Jonathan at