The Ten Truths of Real Culture, Part 2

  1. The stronger and clearer your culture, the easier it is to attract and retain the right people. Skills and experience matter, but bad fit trumps a good background. Imagine the hours of time saved when the right people are drawn to your organization because they understand that they are a fit.
  2. Culture should never be the sole focus, it exists to support strategy. “The purpose of a company is not to create a nice workplace culture but to function in the economy, to provide goods and services. Once you’ve got that concept that we’re in this-and-this business, then you want to design a workplace culture that optimizes fitting that business.” ~ Dr. Edgar Schein
  3. Culture causes behaviors which create results. It is more than purpose or organizational values. Purpose matters – it’s VERY important to understand the bigger “why”. Values matter – it’s critical to define how to behave. However, neither can take the place of culture.
  4. Culture never quits. It’s like eating or sleeping, it requires continuous focus or maintenance to be at your best. Just as vision leaks, culture gets fuzzy if leaders don’t remain focused.
  5. Build on strength – it’s easier to look for what’s working and build on it than to start over. Dishonoring the past alienates the future. So, work to build bridges between what was and what could be. Bridges are built on strengths.

Some other favorite quotes from Dr. Schein’s  ground-breaking work on culture:
“The ability to perceive the limitations in one’s own culture and to evolve the culture adaptively is the essence and ultimate challenge of leadership.”
“If leaders do not become conscious of the cultures in which they are embedded, those cultures will manage them.”

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