Stop Creating a “This” or “That” Culture

Seeing how the way you do things is all you really need

Group of paper doll holding hands. Teamwork concept papercraft. Orange dolls on black wooden background

Oh, yes, I got royally sucked into creating the culture of “this” or “that” game several years ago.

Back then I designed and regularly presented a workshop, which I called Making a Real Recognition Culture. I even wrote regularly about the topic whenever I was politely asked. No matter the format, the content was always well received and respected.

These days, we banter around the idea that we can actually create any type of culture you want, from a million different stripes needed right in your very own workplace. Which is quite an amazing feat when you really think about it.

Cultural Profusion

Recently, I have seen articles and searched online for such cultural variations-on-the-theme with the following references:

  • Creating a culture of engagement
  • Building a culture of innovation
  • A culture of learning
  • A culture of safety
  • A culture of creativity
  • A culture of discipline
  • A culture of performance excellence
  • A culture of… well, you name it and I am sure it is there!

And I even read an article by Jon Lovett on the culture of “shut up!” Which just might be more applicable to this discussion than it first sounds.

Now, my point to you is this – like the infamous “how many [insert profession title] does it take to change a light bulb?” jokes – how many cultures does it really take to make an organization successful? Could we ever have all these multiple cultures merging together and actually functioning simultaneously in the same organization? I don’t believe so, nor do I think it’s feasible.

Culture Shock

So what is a company to do?

My recommendation: You only need one very vibrant, living, breathing, infused culture to drive anything and everything you ever really wanted or need in any organization.

Tweet: You only need one very vibrant, living, breathing, infused culture to drive anything and everything you ever really wanted.

Take Zappos as a classic example. I visited the Zappos head office in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was a fun, educational and amazing experience.

All they have is one culture. They have ten core values that are uniquely Zappos and unlike the standard corporate-speak on the walls of many companies. But what stood out is that they live their culture everywhere, every day.

Who wouldn’t when one of your values is “Create Fun and a Little Weirdness,” as we witnessed one department’s team members parading the floors of the company in bizarre costumes? Or what about “Deliver WOW Through Service” as we witnessed their the call center folks empowered to send flowers, cards or chocolates to a customer they feel really needs that positive boost.

Zappos’ culture is their brand. It drives how they hire, manufacture, deliver service, retain people, innovate, and serve their community and even how they give recognition to people.

Many people want to copy Zappos’ culture. But you cannot copy another group’s beliefs, values and how they do things in your company. It just wouldn’t be authentic because you would be stealing.

The key action leaders of any organization must take is to create your culture and then live it. Period.

Your organizational culture should drive every initiative, practice, your ways of doing things, how you treat people, propel your brand to the forefront, and it must absolutely inspire everyone to lead out and achieve a higher purpose for the good of all.

And amazingly, your wonderful culture will ultimately lead you to the side benefit, but not the focus, of achieving the profits you hope to make.

It just happens.

And so will…

…engagement

…innovation

…learning

…safety

…creativity

…discipline

…performance excellence

And no one will ever shut up talking about you and your company because of the great things you are doing.

All from one culture.

I like simplicity.

Q: How do you get your culture to drive every practice you need to be successful?

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