What Is Culture?
Culture can be hard to nail down because it’s largely comprised of intangibles like shared identity, values, unwritten rules, and stories. But culture is stronger than virtually any other factor in determining employee behavior. Culture guides what people do when you’re not looking, when no one’s telling them what to do. It drives how they treat each other, and your customers, vendors, the community, the environment. It dictates what they prioritize and pay attention to. It’s which way they jump when push comes to shove, regardless of what your company policies and press releases say—and regardless of whatever strategic goals you’ve painstakingly crafted and communicated.
A dysfunctional culture is actively unpleasant and counterproductive. An ill-defined culture leaves employees with conflicting understandings of what’s valued and expected, which is counterproductive in other ways.