Insights into UGRs from
Steve Simpson, Jim Fizdale and Ian Shrives
Want to Know More About UGRs?
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 ,
- Change initiatives that consistently fail to meet their
- Competitors enjoying success despite inferior products
- 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
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
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
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