stop creating this that

Stop Creating a “This” or “That” Culture

Oh, yes, I got sucked into the culture of “this” or “that” creating game several years ago.

Back then I designed and regularly presented a workshop, which I called “Making a Real Recognition Culture.” I even wrote regularly about it when politely asked.  No matter the format the content was always well received and respected.

These days we banter around the idea that we can create any type of culture you want from a million different stripes needed right in your very own workplace. Which is quite amazing when you really think about it.

Cultural Profusion

Recently, I have seen and searched such cultural variations on the theme with the following references:

  • Creating a culture of engagement
  • Building a culture of innovation
  • A culture of learning
  • A culture of safety
  • A culture of creativity
  • A culture of discipline
  • A culture of performance excellence
  • A culture of… well, you name it and I am sure it is there

…and I even read an article by Jon Lovett on the culture of shut up! Which just might be more applicable to this discussion than it first sounds.

How many cultures does it really take to make an organization successful?

Now my point is this – like the infamous “how many does it take to change a lightbulb jokes” – how many cultures does it really take to make an organization successful? Could we really ever have all these multiple cultures merging together and actually functioning simultaneously in the same organization? I don’t believe so and nor do I think it’s feasible.

Culture Shock

So what is a company to do?

My recommendation: You only need one very vibrant, living, breathing, infused culture to drive anything and everything you ever really wanted or need in any organization.

Take Zappos as a classic example. I had the chance to visit the Zappos head office in Las Vegas, Nevada this past January. It was a fun, educational and amazing experience.

You only need one very vibrant, living, breathing, infused culture to drive anything and everything you ever really wanted or need in any organization.

All they have is one culture. They have ten core values that are uniquely Zappos and unlike the standard corporate-speak on the walls of many companies. But what stood out is that they live their culture everywhere, everyday.

Who wouldn’t when one of your values is “Create Fun and a Little Weirdness” as we witnessed one department’s team members parading the floors of the company in bizarre costumes? Or what about “Deliver WOW Through Service” and call center folks are empowered to send flowers, cards or chocolates to a customer they feel really needs that positive boost.

Zappos’ culture is their brand. It drives how they hire, manufacture, deliver service, retain people, innovate, and serve their community and even how they give recognition to people.

Many people want to copy Zappos’ culture but you cannot copy another group’s beliefs, values and how you do things. It just wouldn’t be authentic because you would be stealing.

The key action leaders of any organization must take, is to create your culture. Period.

Your organizational culture should drive every initiative, practice, your ways of doing things, how you treat people, the propulsion of your brand to the forefront, and it must absolutely inspire everyone to lead out and achieve a higher purpose for the good of all.

The key action leaders of any organization must take, is to create your culture. Period.

And amazingly, your wonderful culture will ultimately lead you to the side benefit, but not the focus, of the profits you hope to make.

It just happens.

And so will…







…performance excellence

And no one will ever shut up talking about you and your company because of the great things you are doing.

All from one culture.

I like simplicity.

Q: How do you get your culture to drive every practice you need to be successful?


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Copyright: ryanking999 / 123RF Stock Photo

Roy Saunderson has spent most of his career showing people how to give others “real recognition”. He really is the Get Recognition Right® Guy. He is an author, consultant and speaker to organizations around the world from North America, Europe, Middle East and India. He serves as the Chief Learning Officer of Rideau’s Recognition Management Institute and has personally worked with Boeing, Credit Suisse, Disney, Intel, Johnson and Johnson, and the Canadian Federal Government leaders in getting recognition right. And the best recognition for Roy to get right is being a happy family man and being married to his lovely wife, Irene, for over 35 years and enjoying their five children and 11 grandchildren.

  • TB at

    This is exactly why I’m happy to be in construction and not in the white collar world. We don’t talk about creating any cultures or mission statements or whatever other BS happens in corporate america. We just get told to nail that board to that other board. Just do it. Lay down this carpeting. Nail up that drywall. Demolish this wall. Clean that gutter. Although I guess you’re right about all the cultures being created and named, I guess my bosses could call the “culture” that they’re “cultivating”, the “Just do it now culture.” haha

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  • Roy Saunderson

    Thanks for making the time to comment. Yes, I do live in a white collar world. Your construction perspective reminds me of the men where one was chipping away at rock and the other said he was building a cathedral. I like to think Purpose drives the “why” behind what we do versus just being told. So I think I would like your “just do it now” point + “on purpose”. What do you think?

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