What exactly is culture, especially in the business context? Can an organization really have a culture? The answer, unequivocally, is: “Yes!”
Understanding your culture and, more importantly, knowing how to proactively manage it is an entirely different discussion.
Carolyn Taylor, author of Walking the Talk, explained culture and its importance in the workplace this way:
“Culture is the patterns of behavior that are encouraged or discouraged over time. These behaviors will either facilitate business performance, or they will hinder it. They will either be aligned to values that will build your brand and reputation, or they will not.”
Carolyn’s take on culture reinforces my own and Eric Mosley’s in our book Winning with a Culture of Recognition:
“An organization’s culture is so much more than a slogan or poster. Culture is nothing less than the aggregate of tens of thousands of interactions every day. Leaders of great companies reinforce their values by rewarding and celebrating the behaviors that express those values.”
Globoforce’s culture (in addition to being a culture of recognition) is one of “others first.” For example, in our daily work we tend to put the needs of our colleagues ahead of our own. I’ve seen it repeatedly where someone will drop their own priorities to help another on a project that perhaps is a greater priority overall. And these people are consistently recognized and appreciated when they do.
What behaviors does your culture reinforce? A desire to “win” at all costs (even if less than desirable behaviors are required to win)? A commitment to improve the surrounding community (even if profits may be a bit less)?