Many people talk about organizational culture. Far fewer understand it. Ask a few people to define culture. You’ll get a different answer from each person. As a leader, understanding organizational culture is pretty important. Actually, it’s vitally important.
Culture is the “horizontal gravity” that holds an organization together. It’s why people join and organization. It’s also why they stay there. My friend, financial planner Peter Dunn, says “money goes where it’s best treated.” Guess what? So do people. This is culture.
It’s impossible for an organization to avoid having a culture. Culture develops regardless of the presence or absence of leadership. Culture can be positive or negative, helpful or hurtful, constructive or destructive. Like matter, culture cannot be eliminated. It simply changes form.
The culture of an organization evolves from every event that happens there; every attitude, belief and value expressed; behaviors, language, how we interact with each other, and how we interact with those outside.
A good leader doesn’t just understand culture, he/she is obsessed with it. As I stated earlier, culture happens – regardless of the amount of attention it is given. The leader who doesn’t take responsibility for setting the proper tone and intentionally curating the culture is headed for eventual trouble.
At Simply Driven, we have a Culture Code. It describes and defines our company culture, making it clear to people both inside and outside who we are and what we’re like.
What’s your current experience? Is the organization you’re in obsessed with its culture? Does it exist due to careful cultivation, or is it an unattended, unwieldy beast? Does it exist because of the presence of leadership…or the absence of it?