Culture. Those of us in the business community talk about it endlessly. We read articles about it. We write articles about it! We have meetings about it, and in some cases even hire executives to oversee our culture-shaping initiatives. And that’s all well and good: Culture is far too important a thing to ever leave it to chance.
And yet, for as much as we discuss the benefits of a strong company culture, a lot of misperceptions persist. It’s important not just that we think often about culture, but that we think rightly about it. To that end, let me offer my take on some abiding myths about company culture.
What We Get Wrong About Company Culture
- There’s one correct company culture. I encounter a lot of companies that essentially want to replicate the culture of Apple, or Google, or wherever. And you know what? Apple’s culture is great… for Apple. But you may have different needs and different values. It’s important to do you, and to remember that culture is not one-size-fits-all.
- Culture has a lot to do with benefits, perks, payment, etc. We tend to focus culture on these external things, because they’re frankly much easier to wrap our heads around. But you know, culture is really more a matter of values, priorities, mission, communication… the less tangible things that inform how your team functions.
- A good company culture is all about keeping employees happy. Employee happiness is not a bad thing, but it’s not the same as employee engagement, nor employee efficiency. Of course, none of these things are mutually exclusive! My point is just that it’s critical to define your metrics clearly.
- Culture doesn’t have anything to do with your core business objectives. This is maybe the most troubling company culture myth of all. Culture should always be aligned with your sense of mission, with what your company is ultimately trying to achieve. If your culture is at odds with your business objectives, that’s a problem!
- Great culture means no more conflict. Conflict is always going to happen, and in many ways that can be a good thing! Conflict helps us work out underlying issues and get on the same page together. I would say, though, that a healthy company culture will help you deal with conflict more constructively.
Those are my thoughts, but I’d love to hear from you: What are some of the most insidious myths you’ve heard about company culture? Reach out to me and let me know! You can contact me at www.rickgoodman.com or call 888-267-6098.
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