Introducing the breakthrough concept of 'UGRs' which helps people to understand and improve corporate culture. Unwritten Ground Rules

More About UGRs

Insights into UGRs from Steve Simpson, Jim Fizdale and Ian Shrives


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In recent years, people across all industry sectors have realised that their organisation’s culture is the key to bottom line performance.

In many respects, recognition of the importance of culture has come from difficulties and issues that have emerged , including:

  • Change initiatives that consistently fail to meet their potential
  • Competitors enjoying success despite inferior products or services
  • The extremely high failure rate of mergers and acquisitions attributed to a ‘clash of cultures’
  • The recent corporate governance movement, which has grown from the downfall of huge companies that had counter-productive cultures

How important is culture? Go no further than the report by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board into the 2003 Columbia Space Shuttle disaster. One of the key contributors to the crash – you guessed it – the prevailing NASA culture!

While people are now more ready to acknowledge the importance of their culture, there remains a significant problem. Very few people understand culture in simple and practical terms. And people cannot manage what they do not understand.

Over the last decade, author and international speaker, Steve Simpson has created and developed the concept of UGRs®, or ‘Unwritten Ground Rules’. The concept is now receiving acclaim across the globe as a breakthrough that helps people understand and improve their culture.

One way of understanding UGRs is to consider some in a company:

  • At our meetings it isn’t worth complaining because nothing will get done
  • The only time anyone gets spoken to by the boss is when something is wrong
  • The company talks about good customer service, but we know they don’t really mean it, so we don’t really have to worry about it
  • Our funniest jokes usually involve making jokes about our work colleagues
  • We go through the motions with our bosses, once they’ve gone we do what we want

It is the UGRs that drive people’s behaviour – incredibly, these are rarely if ever discussed openly.

We have created a range of strategies that can be implemented into organisations to boost cultures using UGRs. These are powerful and potent – and because the culture is improved, so is the bottom line.

What People Say About UGRs

I am certain that Steve Simpson has discovered a simple yet profound approach to organizational culture that can be of tremendous value to managers and human resource professionals.
Professor Ron Cacioppe, Managing Director, Senior Management Centre, Western Australia

The concept of UGRs - unwritten ground rules - is the clearest way to understand the existing culture of a work group or organisation, and becomes a powerful tool in changing that culture. Steve’s energetic and passionate presentation style made the event a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Peter Trumper, Head of Business Development, ANZ Bank

The concept of UGRs makes so much sense to so many people at all levels Steve – I know you’re on to something really important in this area.
Roger Andrew, CEO and Managing Director, Andrew Publishing House

The concept of unwritten ground rules came alive with your examples and will remain as a key ingredient in all my work on company cultures.
Tone Mosely, Chief Executive, Service Excellence Study Tours, UK

The UGRs concept has given me the key I have been searching for....the concept is simple, practical and engaging/humorous - it will certainly support me in driving the behavioural changes we seek. Steve was inspirational and of course the content of his talk was extremely thought provoking.... Thank you so much Steve you are certainly on my wave length...
Karen E Berry, Halifax Bank of Scotland

The concept of UGRs is innovative, provocative and would be a powerful tool to improve any company. Your presentation style was also excellent and engaging. I wish you all the best for the future and hope that when our seasons improve we can use you.
Bob Dall’Alba, Queensland Cotton

This is one of my favourite books in my management library. The book is to the point and contains such a powerful message that is yet so obvious. Every member of your organisation should be encouraged to read the book or hear about UGRs.
Arthur Kyron, CEO, Town of Claremont

What an inspiration! I am already preparing a presentation for my Management Team to introduce them to some of your ideas with serious revolution in mind.
Cathy Carr, Divisional Manager, Draeger Safety Pacific Pty Ltd, Melbourne, Victoria



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