Brighton Leadership Group

3 Types of Culture

Culture is a result of human beings’ craving for predictability and certainty. It develops over time when there is a consistent group of people, formed from shared history and the learning that comes from many experiences together. This creates patterns that define the acceptable ways to think and behave in response to various situations.

All groups of people, including teams and organizations, have a culture. Culture is accidental or unintentional if you don’t focus on it. Consider the culture of the groups you are part of and determine if it is:

  1. Unintentional (accidental): When no thought or focus is put into creating culture, an unintentional culture emerges. It isn’t good or bad, it’s just not directed to encourage high performance or accomplish organizational goals. During the pandemic, many groups, teams and organizations slid into this category as they focused on surviving. As leaders are looking to thrive during this time of relentless change, we’ve done culture pulse surveys to measure how their culture is reflecting their intentions.
  1. Hypocritical: This is easy to observe in an organization whose collective behavior contradicts the agreed-upon values or norms. Did you know that “integrity” was the stated #1 value of Enron? That is a clear example of hypocrisy! Far too many organizations have pretty values that aren’t lived. To avoid this common mistake, at our company we review one of our values and the supporting behaviors during each team meeting. Then we spend a few minutes talking about how we’ve observed the value being demonstrated. It’s a powerful, reinforcing conversation.
  1. Intentional (purposeful): This occurs when there is a focused effort to define an ideal culture, then align and manage the culture (which is the team’s values, beliefs and behavioral norms), in support of the organizational goals. We’ve worked with organizations from Guardian Life Insurance and CMMI to NACSA and the Episcopal Church to measure their culture and help the leaders create an intentional culture that honors their purpose, connects to their values and achieves their goals.

Leaders are responsible for creating, maintaining (and sometimes destroying) culture. (This favorite quote is paraphrased from Dr. Edgar Schein’s writing about culture in Organizational Culture and Leadership).

Don’t shirk your leadership responsibility and leave culture to chance. Your team, department or business will have greater levels of achievement and performance when you are intentional about culture.

Not sure where to begin? Email us at or visit the Growth Resources tab for some culture resources.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More Articles

change succeed

4 Tips to Succeed When Leading at the Pace of Change

Would you say the pace of change has increased, decreased or remained the same? Your perception matters and it impacts every facet of your leadership. …

Read More →
strategies of successful leaders

Strategies of Successful Leaders

Over the last few weeks we recorded a series of videos addressing leadership challenges identified by members of the group Scott mentors from the Executive’s …

Read More →
lead with purpose

3 Ways to Lead With Purpose

We are celebrating Freedom week in honor of the Rebel Leader Community launch. You are free to lead with purpose is the theme of today’s …

Read More →
A curious leader

The Case for Curious Leadership

Nothing new comes from the status quo. There is no new awareness, no problem solving, no value creation, no innovation and no adaptability without asking …

Read More →
Scroll to Top

I look forward to speaking with you

Fill in your details and I’ll get back to you.

I look forward to speaking with you

Fill in your details and I’ll get back to you.

I look forward to speaking with you

Fill in your details and I’ll get back to you.