“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” has been attributed to the 20th Century Management Guru Peter Drucker. If you’re an executive, a leader, or a human resource leader, you’ve heard this quote before.
What makes culture so important?
It made us think about what other leaders say about the importance of culture in the workplace. And we did some research, and did a roundup of tweetable ideas here.
Please tweet your favorite one:
“You absolutely must have the discipline not to hire until you find the right people.” – Jim Collins
In “Good to Great,” Jim Collins affirms the right people are your most important asset. “At the top levels of your organization, you absolutely must have the discipline not to hire until you find the right people. The single most harmful step you can take in a journey from good to great is to put the wrong people in key positions. Second, widen your definition of “right people” to focus more on the character attributes of the person and less on specialized knowledge. People can learn skills and acquire knowledge, but they cannot learn the essential character traits that make them right for your organization.”
You absolutely must have the discipline not to hire until you find the right people.
“Your time is limited. Don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” ~ Steve Jobs
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Watch the Stanford Commencement address.
Your time is limited. Don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
“Steve Jobs’s greatest contribution and gift is the company and its culture.” @TimCook
Speaking of Steve Jobs in this Fast Company Interview, Tim Cook affirms: “It was Steve’s selection of people that helped propel the culture. You hear these stories of him walking down a hallway and going crazy over something he sees, and yeah, those things happened. But extending that story to imagine that he did everything at Apple is selling him way short. What he did more than anything was build a culture and pick a great team, that would then pick another great team, that would then pick another team, and so on.”
Steve Jobs’s greatest contribution and gift is the company and its culture.
“Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.” @SimonSinek
How do you get employees to trust your business? The author of “Start With Why” and “Leaders Eat Last,” Simon Sinek says it’s important to create an environment where employees thrive. It’s important for them to feel trusted and have autonomy, trust those around them, feel that they belong, don’t fear losing their job, and feel connected to the meaning in their work. Watch the TED talk.
Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.
In this book, “Screw It, Let’s Do It: Lessons in Life and Business,” Sir Richard Branson borrows from Japanese folklore, which is full of stories of the prince in disguise, who go among the peasants to see what people think of them. When he filmed “The Rebel Billionaire,” Branson disguised himself as an old cabby and drove the young contestants in the series to the manor house, where they were filming. He listened intently to what they said in the back of the cab. He also noted how they treated an old man, who was unable to lift heavy cases. He learned a lot about them, much to their dismay.
Respect is how to treat everyone, not just those you want to impress.
“To have an impact in this new environment, a leader must be closely aligned with the culture he or she hopes to lead. That culture might be particular to one corporation, or it could be much broader, reflecting the language and nationality, or ages and interests, of employees. The leader who parachutes in from the outside is a thing of the past. A leader whose own culture is inseparable from a company’s culture is likely to be much more effective.”
“Creating culture […] is a combination of intent, process, and heart, a trio that must constantly be fine-tuned. “~ Howard Schultz @starbucks
“Like crafting the perfect cup of coffee, creating an engaging, respectful, trusting workplace culture is not the result of any one thing. It’s a combination of intent, process, and heart, a trio that must constantly be fine-tuned.”
An engaging, respectful, trusting workplace culture is not the result of any one thing.
Everyone knows Guy Kawasaki as the Chief Evangelist of Apple, as well as his venture funding work withGarage.com, and most lately Canva. In his book: “Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions,” Kawasaki affirms: “You must assume people are reasonable, honest, and grateful. Everyone isn’t always reasonable, honest, and grateful, but more people are, and you can live your life in one of two ways: thinking people are bad until proven good or thinking they’re good until proven bad. Take my word for it: More people will like you if you believe people are good until proven bad.”
More people will like you if you believe people are good until proven bad.
When Fast Company asked Jeff Immelt how much time he spends with customers, people development, and other things, he responded: “You can’t delegate growth or customer satisfaction. I’m spending four or five days a month with customers. Twice every month, I do town-hall meetings with several hundred customers to share ideas on GE’s direction and listen to their thoughts on what we can do better. And we’re doing what I call dreaming sessions with key customer groups, trying to think about where our business and their business will be in 5 or 10 years. I’m probably spending 30% of the time on people, teaching and coaching. I’m using 10% of my time on governance, working with the board, meeting with investors. The rest would be time spent on the plumbing of the company, working on operating reviews and strategy sessions.” Read the interview here.
You can’t delegate growth or customer satisfaction.
“Your culture is your brand” ~ Tony Hsieh @zappos
In this seminal post, Tony Hsieh, the leader of Zappos affirms: “Building a brand today is very different from building a brand 50 years ago. It used to be that a few people got together in a room, decided what the brand positioning was going to be, and then spent a lot of money buying advertising telling people what their brand was. And if you were able to spend enough money, then you were able to build your brand. It’s a very different world today. With the Internet connecting everyone together, companies are becoming more and more transparent whether they like it or not. An unhappy customer or a disgruntled employee can blog about bad experience with a company, and the story can spread like wildfire by email or with tools like Twitter. We believe that your company’s culture and your company’s brand are really just two sides of the same coin. The brand may lag the culture at first, but eventually it will catch up.” Read the post here.
Your culture is your brand.
“Be strong and challenge the culture.” ~ Lolly Daskal @lollydaskal
Lolly Daskal is a Leadership Coach, Consultant, Facilitator, Speaker, and Author. She’s the founder of Lead from Within: a successful leadership firm that offers custom made programs in leadership and organizational development. She is recognized as a Top Thought Leader In Business. “Every organization has a culture, but to be its best it must be intentionally formed and fostered. Strong leaders build strong cultures.”
Be strong and challenge the culture.
In this post titled “Your Manifesto, Your Culture,” Seth Godin affirms “It’s easy to string together a bunch of platitudes and call them a mission statement,” but what if you really want to build a culture? “It’s easy to write something like this (hey, even the TSA has one) but it’s incredibly difficult to live one, because it requires difficult choices and the willingness to own the outcome of your actions. If you’re going to permit loopholes, wiggle room and deniability, don’t even bother.”
You have to describe (and live) the difficult choices.
“We’d rather be failing frequently than never trying.” ~ Darmesh Shah @dharmesh
HubSpot published a deck on Slideshare called The HubSpot Culture Code: Creating a Company We Love. This presentation deck started out as an internal document and doubles as the company handbook. As a company who values transparency, they decided to share it with the community as a manifesto. There are so many great ideas in this one presentation deck, it really deserves its own post, which David Meerman Scott did here.
We’d rather be failing frequently than never trying.
What do you think about the importance of workplace culture?
What can you do as an executive, leader, or human resource professional to create a culture your employees love?