Building an Intangible Asset Intelligent Company Culture

Through this intangible asset strategist’s lens…building – sustaining an intangible asset intelligent company culture is akin to preparing for and running a half-marathon, not a 5k!  A company culture with this attribute exists in circumstances whereby employees, management teams, c-suites, and boards alike, are knowledgeably and collectively committed to sustaining a principled base of intellectual, structural, relationship, and competitive capital ala IA’s (intangible assets). No rocket science here, right.

Based on the fine and widely referenced work of Dr. Edgar Schein…a company culture consists of progressive stages that observably emerge, providing of course, someone looks for and recognizes them, i.e.,

1.  employees (collectively) recognize and begin to act on a shared system of values, norms, beliefs, and attitudes that serve, among other things, to define and clarify what is important.

2. circumstances in which employees, at all levels, recognize they learn as they’re solving problems and challenges, and, if the problem – solving methodology works well enough, employees will consider it valid and worthy of being taught and passed along to new employees because,

3. it represents the preferred, perhaps correct, way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to addressing (internal, external) problems and challenges their company routinely faces, which, in turn, leads to efficiencies, competitive advantages, and reputational value, etc. (Adapted by Michael D. Moberly from the work of Dr. Edgar Shein)

Ultimately, there are two initial steps to developing a principled company culture…

  • determining what attitudes and beliefs need to (should) be established, and
  • having a clear understanding how those attitudes and beliefs can translate (become operational) as sector-business relevant behaviors ala intangible assets, on an enterprise-wide basis.

Again, through my lens, however one wishes to characterize company (sector relevant) culture…it can and routinely does become a competitive and measurable achievement and powerful contributor to performance, value, and, of course, reputation and brand.

C-suites and management teams will recognize an intangible asset intelligent company culture is jelling, maturing, and/or has come to fruition when intangibles are…

1. openly and routinely discussed as action items on management team operating agendas.

2. readily distinguished as operational variants of intellectual, structural and relationship capital.

3. recognized for their contributions to company mission, e.g., building-sustaining value and competitive advantages, etc.

4. being routinely monitored and assessed insofar as development, exploitation, retention, and performance, ala contributory role, relevance, and value.

Validity attaches to each ‘measurable’ I have described above…in the findings of multiple academic studies. A particular-survey undertaken by SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management, a profession association) circa 2012, asked 770 HR (human resource) leaders to identify significant ‘workforce management and staffing challenges’. The respondents identified…

  • employee engagement
  • employee retention
  • effective performance management                              = intangible assets
  • employee recruitment, and
  • company culture management

The findings are relevant and instructive on many levels…but, I suspect too, the findings may be interpreted, by some, as dated if considered in the context of the ostensive realities associated with today’s millennial dominant go fast, go hard, go global, go black business environment. But wait, an intangible asset intelligent company culture, once recognized, can serve as a catalyst for internalizing and enhancing these and other important intangible assets.

The replication of these findings, in other studies-surveys, provides validation…to the above and, as such, are tactically and strategically instructive to business leaders and management teams who are (fiduciarily) obliged to devote time, energy, and yes, some resources to developing and sustaining an intangible asset intelligent (company) culture. The reason, again, doing so, carries a high probability for delivers favorable and sustainable returns from intangible assets.

These business operating realities collectively manifest in the economic fact that…80+% of most company’s value, sources of revenue, and ‘building blocks’ for growth, profitability, and sustainability today lie in – emerge directly from intangible assets, rather naturally embedded in company cultures, if – when recognized and exploited effectively.

Michael D. Moberly February 1, 2018 St. Louis [email protected] Business Intangible Asset Blog, since May 2006 ‘where attention span, business realities, and solutions converge’.

Readers are invited to explore other blog posts, papers, and books I have published at


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