Company Culture

Culture Can Happen On Accident

By November 9, 2020 No Comments
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With all the talk about culture, and creating a great culture, and being intentional about culture, and having a culture where people want to work, it’s easy to think that we have a lot of influence on culture, and whatever we do to create a positive culture will probably stick.

I would guess that most companies either enjoy, or are haunted by, a culture that they didn’t intentionally create. 

Culture isn’t necessarily what you define it to be. It’s not like you can get in front of your team or organization and say “we are a super fun place to work where everyone gets along, and our customers love us” and that is how it will be.

A manager or boss or owner might say that while the employees are chuckling and whispering under their breath that the manager is so out of touch.

Sound familiar?

Culture happens because of two forces. One is the intentional force and direction that was strategically defined. This takes work, effort, consistency, messaging, and buy in from top to bottom. It also takes budget. Whether you are paying for a rewards and incentives program or a monthly lunch or spiffs, you need to budget for expenses that will reinforce the building of your intentionally defined culture objectives.

The other force is, of course, unintentional. This happens when a supervisor says “I don’t care what the other teams are doing, we are going to work over the weekend, and you’re going to like it!” That will create an unintentional negative culture. Alternatively, a supervisor might create their own recognition program, perhaps talking about the goodness that team members have brought to the team in a weekly meeting. This might not be part of the organizational cultural goals, but the team leader is developing their own team culture of unity, cohesiveness, etc.

Another example of what leads to an unintentional culture is when you hire someone that is just horrible and you let them stay. I’ve seen this with low level people and high level executives. Everyone knows that person is bad for the organization, and questions why leadership is allowing them to stay and impact the culture of the organization.

No executive got up in a meeting and said “hey, let’s create a culture of distrust and aggression by keeping this horrible person on staff!”  Instead, they might have said “let’s get that person some coaching, and hang on to them… it’s not that bad yet.” Hanging on to the wrong person can lead to all kinds of badness in your culture, unintentionally.

So, I repeat my thesis:

I would guess that most companies either enjoy, or are haunted by, a culture that they didn’t intentionally create. 

You can’t guard against every possibility of unintentional culture. Every person on your team, and outside influences, can impact your culture. But I’ve seen some leaders who have been very intentional about crafting the culture they want. This takes a lot of thought and hard work. It takes commitment over time.

Here’s the opportunity: you can craft the culture you want, with that effort, or you can just kind of let culture happen.

It’s up to you.

If you want to chat about your culture, and how Snowfly helps build and reinforce positive cultures, let’s talk:

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Jason Alba

Jason Alba

I'm passionate about building great cultures. I love respect in the workforce, especially respect that is earned. I love strategic management, leadership, and vision. I love healthy companies through profitability. I love employee engagement, employee performance, and employee satisfaction. I love how Snowfly can help YOUR organization work towards all of these things.

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