an interview Paul Mullins, Executive Director, The IN Group

How to build the successful global business culture that your people want

Here is a reassuringly human and insightful look inside global business cultures, and which core values can bind organisations as they grow. Taken from our interview with Paul Mullins, Executive Director at The IN Group, we look at the impact of culture on international growth.

As the leader of The IN Group’s US business and our global consultancy, strategy, and private equity business, and with thirteen years in-house experience, it’s fair to say that Mullins has seen various shifts on the subject of cohesive growth and the impact of culture on international expansion.

We have chosen a few key points from Mullins’ reflections on how values shape culture and how in turn culture shapes commercial growth – but feel free to read the full TIG Culture magazine article, ‘Cohesive culture in global teams,’ here.

Where to start? – culture won’t happen by chance

Before an organisation begins mapping out its values to spark its cultural revolution, there is one fundamental starting point that Mullins cites. Above all other values, and basic though it may sound, ‘respect’ is critical to us all as employees and humans. Respect, he said, feels like the right place to start growing a business culture.

Here is the definition of respect chosen by Mullins:

“to accept the importance of someone’s rights or customs and to do nothing that would harm them or cause offence.”

For Mullins, respect pre-empts so many other qualities, such as compassion, kindness, and care – because it empowers us to be individuals, to be ourselves. Being shown and outwardly giving respect creates a collective celebration of uniqueness. A space for acceptance. A place where people collectively strive to be kind, open-minded and patient.

This quote from Mullins’ interview touches on his sources of inspiration and positions respect as a powerful tool for good. “It comes back to what Stephen R. Covey famously wrote in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change: ’How you treat the one reveals how you regard the many, because everyone is ultimately a one.’ This is how I’ve witnessed cultures that grow person to person, and then go on to support an organisation.”

Paul Mullins

The ‘in’ word for global business culture

Mullins also speaks about intersubjectivity – the mutual understanding among people that their perspectives, experiences, and knowledge inform and shape their understanding of the world. Intersubjectivity enables us to learn from each other by listening and collaborating, fostering creativity, co-creation, and problem-solving.

When we bring intersubjectivity to any social encounter, Mullins explains, we bring appreciation too of any conscious and unconscious biases we may have. “When respect and empathy underpin our interaction then we can explore what’s happening between us without feeling a need to objectively find who is ’right’ and who is ’wrong.’” If Mullins’ ideas interest you, they are explored in much greater detail in the full interview, which you can download here.

Authenticity – bringing the real me and you to the table

As corporate buzzwords go, authenticity is certainly up there at the moment. Many companies choose authenticity to embody their corporate ethos and values – and for good reason – with empowering people being central to their corporate culture. The IN Group’s core values are trust, authenticity, respect, collaboration, diversity and inclusion, and inspiration. So, authenticity sits at the front and centre of ours too – but as Mullins explains, this wasn’t chosen through a branding exercise, but from a survey asking people about how they felt working for us. This word, or its essence, cropped up repeatedly. So, why was this?

“The reason I believe it did, is because our need to be ourselves and not hide who we are, is something that anyone, anywhere, and at any stage in their life, values when they feel it. Authenticity to me is about being free to be human. It encompasses our faults, fears, and fragilities, as well as our strengths and a feeling of pride and contented acceptance in who we are.”

Paul Mullins

Measure and communicate more

The full interview explores the importance Mullins places on communication and measurement in the cultural development of global business culture – even providing a breakdown of the ‘C.I.A’ principles he developed, standing for commitment, intensity and attitude. This value-based measurement device for the sales divisions is now used across the globe, driving The IN Group’s cultural identity and cohesion.

“Someone may be Italian, English, American, or Mexican, but C.I.A’s values seem to be inherent in any sales culture, from my experience of them at Investigo, and with clients.”

Paul Mullins

With real-life examples of how Mullins achieved a cohesive international culture for The IN Group, the full interview makes for a thought provoking read. Another important word that drives his narrative is kindness, so that feels like a great place to end this piece. In a world where local is now global, starting with the genuine human basics that support and encourage kindness to one another, seems to be a fitting focus for global cultural growth, making strong people networks where kindness is enabled to grow.

Find out more about growing a successful global business culture here

Unlocked: Culture

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