What Drives Company Culture: Profit or Value?

Priorities and culture always drive behaviour when projects are delivered, and the number one driver of corporate behavior is the pursuit of profit. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Companies need to make a profit to be sustainable and provide a return to investors. This, in turn, provides security for employees and subcontractors, and for customers who depend on the products or services the company provides.

Sometimes, of course, the pursuit of profit and the way that executives are incentivised to generate short term returns can get out of hand. While major failures of corporate governance are rare, the impact can be catastrophic.

But even within what could be called the ‘normal’ range of profit motivation, the pursuit of profit is still a major driver of behaviours and decisions in publicly quoted companies. Shareholders want good news. And the dreaded profit warning is a major blow to any company’s reputation, prestige and share price.

On Rail Infrastructure projects, a profit driven culture can narrow the focus in terms of project objectives and costs by contractors. Tightly controlling the project scope and deliverables is a mechanism to protect those all-important profits.

Private Ownership Brings a Different Culture

Osborne’s approach is different from many listed contractors. Independent ownership allows us to look at projects from a different perspective. Our business is value driven rather than profit driven.

What does this mean in practice? It means we are freer to offer dimensions to the customer relationship that profit driven suppliers cannot always do. We are more interested in taking the opportunity to deliver more value than to narrow and define the deliverables as tightly as possible.

Our starting point is always to look at developing solutions and investing the resources of our customers to the greatest effect. What will be the best outcomes for their customers and for the wider community?

This will always allow us to work more closely with our customers, with the shared goals of providing the best return on their investment for their customers and society.