Monday, October 3, 2011

Culture: Nature or Nurture

It's funny how topics come up in discussion in several venues over a short period of time. As you have read in a past blog post, I was at the Halogen's user's conference a couple of weeks ago, where I was on a blogger's panel. We discussed the topic of culture and how you can leverage culture to your benefit as a company in the recruiting and retention areas.

I also had the privilege to teach the PHR/SPHR preparation class and the question about measuring culture arose in a discussion.

Lastly, I was presenting to a group last week on how to create a "High Performing Organization" and of course culture came up in that discussion.

I guess the most common theme was the idea of culture creation. More specifically, "Are cultures created or do they just happen?

In each venue we discussed companies that had a very strong well known culture. The following companies were mentioned:

1) Nordstrom
2) Publix
3) Ritz Carlton
4) Chick Fil A
5) Zappo's
6) Home Depot
7) Quick Trip
8) Apple

Some on the list were the usual suspects, but some were surprises (Quick Trip and Chick Fil A). So I had someone ask, "Did they create their culture on purpose?"

Such a simple question, but huge on impact.

My answer is a resounding YES. You have to be deliberate in creating your culture OR you get one that is created for you. In my experience the latter is not a positive culture or one that is aligned with the organization's mission and values.

So of course the next question is, "How do you go about creating a culture that is positive and one that can be a competitive advantage to your organization like the one's mentioned above?"

I have some ideas, and have had some interesting discussions on the topic, but why don't you all help me out here....

What is the formula for creating a culture that is a competitive advantage for your company?

You can give me your thoughts and I will compile them in a blog post for next week.....I love it, I have just given my readers some homework! :)

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