Have You Done A Culture Check Recently?

Have you done a culture check recently?

Corporate culture.
Definition: A blend of the values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals and myths all companies develop over time

Recently, Howard Schultz, chairman, president and C.E.O. of Starbucks, was interviewed by Adam Bryant of the New York Times.  (Bob excerpted this interview for our blog here).  Here’s a key excerpt from that interview:

Bryant: What is your advice to an entrepreneur who asks you: “I’m just starting a company. How do I create a culture?”

Schultz: I would say that everything matters — everything. You are imprinting decisions, values and memories onto an organization. In a sense, you’re building a house, and you can’t add stories onto a house until you have built the kind of foundation that will support them. I think many start-ups make mistakes because they are focusing on things that are farther ahead, and they haven’t done the work that has built the foundation to support it.

Dov Seidman, in his book, how:  Why HOW we Do Anything Means Everything…In Business (and in Life), has more to say about culture:

Culture is the way things really work, the way decisions are really made, e-mails really composed, promotions really earned and meted out, and people really treated every day. Culture is a company’s DNA, the sum total of its history, values, aspirations, beliefs, and endeavors, the operating system, if you will, that defines and influences what occurs at the synapses between everyone working together in a group, large or small.

Unlike an operating system, however, just inserting a piece of code-such as a compliance program or an innovation team–cannot change a culture; cultures are alive; they evolve and change over time.

Just what is the culture you have, and what is the culture you want?  The culture creates so much within an organization, and a good, well-liked, respected, consistent culture is a morale builder and success generator.

Have you done a culture check recently?

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