As the company itself puts it: Take a look at the John Lewis website and the elements of a successful culture spring out starting with its principle aim: More importantly, how do organisational leaders ensure that the values and attitudes which they map out are translated across the board into engaged employees, happy customers and satisfied investors.
Over the course of the boom-and-bust period between andthey generally created new jobs more quickly and were at least as profitable as their counterparts. Last June, David Cameron unveiled plans to turn parts of the public sector into "John Lewis-style" mutuals.
This, of itself, makes for a different business model but it is one which then develops through seven basic tenets which are as relevant today as when they were set out in the original constitution. In theory, it makes employees more invested — literally — in their work, and so heightens both productivity and profits.
This week, a rightwing thinktank suggested turning state schools into John Lewis-like companies. The findings — based on a survey of more than 60 senior executives of both types of company, and financial data from more than firms — back up other studies that show that employee owned businesses typically outperform those companies in which employees do not have an ownership stake or the right to participate in decision-making.
In this article we are highlighting one of the leading UK success stories, the John Lewis Partnership, but for future articles we are keen to share stories from across the business spectrum.
Organisations which are so lacking in innovation that they are swept away in a tide of technological change; businesses which are so bound up in short term profiteering that they invest in toxic assets; companies which care so little for their customers that they happily mis-sell product after product: All staff — from chairman Charlie Mayfield down to Saturday shelf-stackers — receive the same percentage payout which rises or falls in line with its financial fortunes.
And what of the Swindon care unit? Its employees are its partners and it has therefore never had to contend with the accusation that employees are expenses of the business to be used and discarded.
It also one of the dwindling number of companies to operate a final salary pension scheme which is funded entirely by the company. If it is true that we learn from our mistakes then business in general must have learnt an awful lot over the last few years.
So our challenge goes out to CEOs and other organisational leaders to share with us your success stories so that others can learn. The power structure involves a staff council — for ideas and complaints to filter up to the board — and a weekly magazine where staff can air their views about policies and management, anonymously if they choose.
Even Nick Clegg has talked about making other firms in the private sector operate a bit more like John Lewis.
The ownership model means it is in the interests of John Lewis and Waitrose staff to work hard as they are the direct beneficiaries. Tony Greenham, the head of finance and business at the New Economics Foundation says it is important that employees should "have a greater say in how their businesses are run, not just a bigger share of the profits".
Whilst no two businesses are identical, there are some ingredients which are common to all strong organisational cultures and just as success breeds success, learning from those who have mastered the secret of organisational culture can help others to set off on the road to transformation.
He signed away his ownership rights in to allow future generations of employees to take forward his "experiment in industrial democracy". These days, we can add a fourth: What is a strong culture? Admittedly organisational culture failings are instructive but so too are cultural success stories.
The John Lewis business model gives each employee part-ownership of the company, a share of its annual profits, and a say in how it is run. Unless you count swingeing cuts as a good thing.
Key to the success is the way in which employees are engaged in the aims and success of the organisation. But proposals to turn public services into John Lewis-style firms seems slightly disingenuous. Dealing honestly with customers Conducting business relationships with integrity Contributing to the wellbeing of local communities Living these beliefs and behaviours every day has resulted in happy and loyal employees and happy customers.
Share via Email John Lewis: A planned free school in Suffolk will be a John Lewis-style partnershipwhile an NHS hospital in Cambridgeshire and a care unit in Swindon already claim to operate along those lines.
Organisational culture in action — John Lewis Date added:INTRODUCTION This report insists on the organisational structure and culture of a private sector company named John Lewis partnership and a public.
The organisational structure and organisational culture at John Lewis Partnership, based around employee ownership, is distinctive and highly successful. But why? What is it about the "partnership" model at JLP which drives sales and customer service so high?
In these JLP videos, the partners. The John Lewis Partnership has an unusual organisational structure including employee councils, ‘independent’ press and a profit-share scheme.
The Partnership was created in when John Spedan. From an external stakeholder perspective John Lewis over all looks like a well structured organisation. Yes, it is a very customer focused organisation, and will bend over backwards to ensure customer satisfaction.
The John Lewis Partnership's reputation is founded on the uniqueness of our ownership structure and our commercial success. Our purpose is 'the happiness of all our members, through their worthwhile, satisfying employment in a successful business', with success measured on our ability to sustain and enhance our position both as an outstanding.
The John Lewis model and what others could learn from it John Lewis's ownership structure was established by pioneering businessman John Spedan Lewis whose father founded the business inDownload