What about “Culture”?  by Greg Smith

 “For example, with a Learning Culture in place an Organization can sustain itself and prosper by embracing an approach that creates compelling reasons to learn and attracts and retains curious employees.”!

First, the word “Culture”?

The word “culture” seems to have manifested itself from a resistance to even using the word to becoming the primary adjective used to describe what an organization is currently focussed on.  For example, it could be a “Culture of Trust”; a “Culture of Safety”; “Technology Culture”: or a “Culture of Customer Care” to name a few.


The good news is that it is now an accepted terminology. The bad news is that organizations can be sending mixed messages as now “culture” may be viewed as the “flavour of the day” rather than an enduring entity that is an essential part of an organization’s DNA.

Should an Organization have one culture or multi cultures?

.An interesting thought, with such a multi-ethnical population present in most organizations as well as multi location (regional) ideocracies. How difficult is it to meld various individual learned values into one cohesive set of core organizational values? Not necessarily easy but very doable with a challenging process creating phenomenal and bonding outcomes. How do the Owners and/or the Executive Suite view the Organization over its lifetime?  The identified culture will be based on the Organization’s core purpose and values which reflects the enduring business driver. The associated behaviours and practices identified under each Core Value brings life and identity to this unifying organizational culture.


Why not an Organic Culture?

Well if the decision is to not lead culture it will always exist regardless.  It might be a hodgepodge of non cohesive practices but that is and will be the culture and if that is desired so be it. The question might be how well is the organization behaving and are the expected business outcomes being achieved? 



Culture Shaping

The Ten Tenets of Culture-Shaping that a colleague, Eric Beaudan and I developed a few years back and published in the Ivey Business Journal in an article entitled: CORPORATE CULTURE: ASSET OR LIABILITY



        1.       Advocate culture change through the                    CEO/COO

2.       Base the culture on the business drivers of the (new) company

3.       Understand the old (existing) cultures, go below the surface

4.       Give everyone a chance to contribute

5.       Communicate regularly and openly

6.       Start early and commit to lasting change

7.       Give culture a voice at the table

8.       Learn to let go, be willing to unlearn

9.       Reinforce desired behaviors

10.   Recognize culture as a living entity