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What is Culture?

What is Culture?


The word culture is traditionally defined as the beliefs, manners, rituals, customs, institutions, arts, and achievements of a specific society. When you think about culture, you likely think of countries with rich histories, elaborate traditional clothing, and unique religious rituals, but did you know that companies have cultures too? Culture evolves when a group of people gather together—so it makes sense that a culture would evolve in the workplace.

Every Company has a Culture.

Every company, every organization, has a culture. Sometimes the culture is a reflection of the founders or the owners of the company, or it can be based on the behaviors of a few outstanding, outlandish, or just influential people. Sometimes no one really knows how the culture became what it is, it just did. In fact, in most company’s people don’t really talk about culture, per se. Instead they talk about job satisfaction or employee engagement or they just talk about how much they like or dislike their coworkers or boss.

Even though every company has a culture, very few companies are proactively, intentionally creating the culture that they desire. It’s not that they don’t care, it is more a problem with not knowing “how” to influence the culture. Most people (and I would dare say “all people” )would like to work in an organization where there is a “great” culture… I take that back, some people really don’t care. They are the ones who have given up. They are the ones who have been beaten into submission by an angry boss, or have tried to take initiative but have been told “no” too many times.  These people may not have the emotional energy to “want” a great culture.  They would probably be happy with not having a bad culture. So I’ll restate, everyone wants a great culture even if it only at the point where they are starting a new job. When we start a new job we are generally full of optimism and full of excitement.  We are optimistic that this new job will be fantastic and the great people you met with during the interview process will continue to be great and life will be peachy from this point forward.  Also, as an employer and an owner of a recruiting company I have participated in hundreds and possibly thousands of interviews and hires. One thing that everyone of them can agree on is they have a desire to work at a company that has “great” or at least “good” culture. From the employers perspective, no one ever hires  a person who they know will be the cancer in the organization or the one who ruins the culture. From my own personal experience I can say that I have never intentionally hired a bad person. Each and every time I made a hire I too was full of optimism that this person would be a rockstar, that this person would contribute to the results of the company and be a positive influence on the culture overall. So, if the employees want a great culture and the management wants a great culture, why are so many companies struggling with this problem?

The answer, and the reason for writing this blog,  is that most people don’t know how to proactively influence the culture that they want to have. The purpose of this blog is to provide an outline that managers, owners, or employees can follow to proactively influence the culture that they want to have in their organization.

Great Culture Starts with YOU!