Blog Post

The Importance of Company Culture

Published on

Feb 18

Christine Luttrell

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In my last blog, I introduced you to a speaker I had the distinct pleasure of meeting at a Texas SHRM meeting, Aliana Apodaca with Positive Directions Co. She spoke a lot about organizational lifecycles and change. And tied it all back to culture.

So what makes up the culture of an organization? It is a combination of many factors:

  • Corporate History
  • Leadership Style
  • Industry & Environment
  • Region
  • Employee/Membership base
  • Key Organizational Tasks
  • Shared Values - what we think is important
  • Beliefs - how we think things should be done
  • Behaviors - the habitual patterns of the team
  • Heroes - the people who personify our culture
  • Systems - the written & unwritten policies and procedures

A positive company culture is more important than ever before…it is a must-have rather than a nice to have. Culture has never been unimportant, but with the millennials in the workforce, it has even more significance. For the millennial, a career is much more than a place to work for 20 years. It is not about job security. It is a conglomerate of company values, community and the overall culture of a company that makes them stay and grow.

If an ineffective culture is in place, there are some telltale signs or symptoms that will become evident. Employees will be resistant to change, thrive on gossip, complain excessively, assume negative motives around each other and the company, exhibit internal competitiveness, make decisions based on self-interest, blame others and make excuses for their own shortcomings, participate in “turf wars”, and/or have a we-they mentality. All of this behavior leads to a constant state of stress which then promotes delayed decisions, negative energy, and a lack of customer focus and teamwork.

A quote from Business Week really drives the culture point home, “An organization’s culture can be its greatest strength when it is consistent with its strategies. But a culture that prevents a company from meeting competitive threats, or from adapting to changing economic or social environments, can lead to the organization’s stagnation and ultimate demise.”

To truly change an organization, you need to change its culture.

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