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"This will have come as a shock – whether you're a start-up, an SME or a major corporate."

Video interview: former MD of MetroBank and chairman of GreaterSport Manchester Chris Brindley MBE offers practical advice to business owners on finding the help and support they need, and how staying true to your values can provide certainty at times of crisis.

Zoom calls. Furloughing. Covid-secure workplaces.

It is difficult to believe just how quickly an entirely new world of work has emerged. With such rapid change, how can business leaders reasonably plan for the future? For Chris Brindley MBE, the answer is in a fundamental – yet often overlooked – principle for businesses of all sizes: their working cultures.

"Culture isn't just for the good times or just for times of crisis. It's about regularly asking yourself [as a business] 'how do we operate around here?'"

As he explains in this interview, Chris firmly believes in the benefits of spending time developing long term, sustainable cultures. For Chris, a company's working culture should be able to provide some level of certainty in otherwise unpredictable circumstances. "[Working culture] can provide a decision-making tree that truly reflects the company's values. A tree that asks 'What is the impact for the business? The customer? The colleagues?'"

Businesses that have taken the time to develop their cultures, he suggests, are cultures "built to handle the current situation very well."

No-one could have realistically anticipated the past few months and the resulting changes to the workplace. As Chris rightly points out, "this will have come as a shock – whether you're a start-up, an SME or a major corporate."

But as businesses begin to imagine the future in the emerging 'new normal', those that have been able to maintain a clear focus on their values will be at an advantage; using their working culture to provide direction for the business, support staff, and continue to deliver a service the customer expects.

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