Alex Feher started Culture Works in 2007 to help leaders create organisations where people love to work.
Culture Works specialises in steering leaders towards defining their organisation’s purpose and values while ensuring that employees are aligned.
Tell us a bit about Culture Works and how your business helps to create positive impact.
It’s well known that one of the key factors in long-term sustainability and success for organisations is employees being aligned with the values and purpose of an organisation.
So we seek to help leaders discover that link and help them create places where people love to work. We do workplace culture health measurements by measuring how the values of people align with the values of an organisation. Healthy cultures display lots of overlap in personal values and organisational values. Of course when people are happy at work it has enormous effect on their families and communities.
The other thing we find is that organisations with great workplace cultures tend to be more involved with higher purpose initiatives that make a difference. I suppose as a leader if you care about your staff’s wellbeing and invest in this process, it’s likely you generally care anyway.
What kind of opportunities are there for social enterprises and NFPs to benefit from cultural and leadership development?
Every leader in any organisation needs to constantly develop themselves. There are many opportunities to do this and many organisations that can help. Social enterprises are usually driven by making a difference, and it is necessary to balance this with financial performance, so this often means that leadership development is even more crucial.
Which organisations inspire you and how do they do workplace culture well?
Atlassian and Wilson Asset Management really inspire me. Companies that keep impressing me are the ones that make culture a huge part of their business strategy – for them it’s not just a process or a thing to do but a way of being. They couldn’t imagine themselves not paying attention to working on it continuously. They try and live their values constantly. And some companies make this a driving force of the leadership team – not simply the HR department.
What is your proudest moment as far as helping organisations is concerned?
The one thing that always gives me a big buzz is when I have assisted a leader that has been struggling for years finally get why they are on this planet and the positive impact they can have on those around them. That moment, the brightness in the eyes, the sense of the big load lifting and passion igniting is my biggest reward for this work.
How did you come to be involved in the ‘for purpose’ scene?
I’ve always worked towards a purpose but never really understood what this meant in the world of leadership until I left the corporate world in 2002. I’ve had my fair share of success and failure – I suppose you eventually realise that you’ve really been at your best or most successful when you’ve been ‘on purpose’ and in alignment with your values.
Being entrepreneurial, I’ve had a few failures along the way and looking back I realise these stuff-ups were my greatest teachers in understanding values-based decision making. A few of those failures would not have happened had I stayed true to myself and not allowed fear to take over.
What were you doing before becoming a workplace culture and leadership development coach?
I’ve always been very entrepreneurial and am still involved in a number of tech startups as an investor and advisor. Soon after graduating as an engineer and moving to Australia I started an events company in 1991, which was eventually acquired by Ziff-Davis, a US based subsidiary of IT media giant Softbank Japan. I worked as the Australian and Asia Pacific CEO for the parent and variants of the parent company until 2002.
What’s the best advice you have received as a consultant?
Look in the mirror!
Most useful lesson you have learnt so far?
That I know so little.
You’ve been a community member since the very beginning. Why is being a part of the Social Impact Hub community important to you?
It provides me with great emotional nutrition through the work it does. It feeds my passion for changing the status quo by working with young people to look at solving social and environmental challenges. I am a great admirer of Jessica Roth’s vision and what she has created.
How has the Social Impact Hub community helped you in your journey?
Jessica and the Social Impact Hub has been involved in the development of the impact investment market in Australia. I was introduced to Danny Almagor and Charly Kleissner who are very active and passionate impact investors. I was so inspired by their work and the whole concept of impact investing that I brought my events background into play by coming up with the idea of creating an Impact Investment Summit. Together with my long time colleague and great friend, Rob Irving we co-founded that event which is now a big part of the impact investment community.
Tell us a bit about this year’s event.
This year’s event will be taking place on 12 and 13 November in Sydney and will again bring the impact investing community together. The theme this year is Activate and Accelerate and we’re currently recruiting a program manager to help us develop the content. We intend to be more transformative and help shift the consciousness of the attendees so they feel even more empowered to become part of the ‘capital for good’ movement. If they are already onboard then we’ll give them a turbocharge to help them get to the next level!
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