Different people have different definitions of culture. To some, culture is about the arts or belonging to a particular ethnic group. Others see the definition of culture as a set of shared beliefs and values. Either way, culture shapes how we see the world and our place in it.
No matter your definition of culture, you will find some common themes in all cultures. These include a shared language, religion (beliefs), food, music, dance, art, etc.
Culture is also about how we interact with each other. It dictates how we dress, greet each other, and behave in social situations.
When you think about it, culture is everything around us. It’s the way we live our lives, and it’s something that we all have in common.
The definition of culture is such a vital part of our lives. Still, it’s also something that can be very difficult to define. That is because the agreed-upon definition of culture is constantly changing. What was considered part of culture 10 years ago might not be considered part of that culture today.
That can make it difficult to really pin down what culture is. However, we can make some generalizations about culture. Mainly, your organization’s culture is the values, beliefs, and behaviors shared by the people working there.
Knowing how to improve organizational culture is something that can be very difficult. That is because it’s based on the shared values and beliefs of the people who work there at the time they were defined. As people come and go, grow and expand, so does your culture.
If you want to change your organization’s culture, you must first change how the people in your organization think about culture. You must also change how they feel about it.
It can be challenging, but it’s important to remember that culture constantly evolves (and devolves). Something considered part of your organization’s culture 10 years ago won’t necessarily still be considered part of that culture today.
It’s essential to keep this in mind as you work to cultivate your definition of culture. Culture is constantly changing, and it’s up to the leaders to help shape it, nudge it, and influence it in the direction you want it to go.
Assessing Your Organization’s Culture
Here are some questions for you to begin assessing your organization’s culture:
- Is the leadership team working as a cohesive unit to achieve common goals? Or are they a group of individuals working alone in the same department?
- Do teams effectively celebrate success and work to improve as the company grows?
- Do employees and managers understand and accept responsibility for the value they create together?
- Do employees understand how their role’s growth and development occur in the organization?
- Do employees believe they have the support, autonomy, and opportunity to take care of customers?
- Are actions and behaviors acknowledged, recognized, and rewarded?
- Do employees communicate and support one another openly and willingly?
Answering these questions will give you a good indication of whether your organization has a culture that is conducive to innovation. If not, don’t despair – there are always ways to improve organizational culture.
A Happy and Healthy Corporate Culture
“I’ve noticed the easiest companies to skyrocket are those with a healthy and happy corporate culture.” — Roy H. Williams
What comes to mind when you hear the term “corporate culture?” Do you think of an employee group passionate about work and enjoy coming into the office daily? Or, do you think of a group of employees who are stressed out and dread going to work each day?
If you want your company to be successful, it’s crucial to have a corporate culture that is healthy and happy. It only makes sense.
Having researched culture for over a decade now, I would add two things to this. When a culture is operating with a thriving mindset, there is a greater sense of confidence. They resonate a positive energy that is both attractive and persuasive.
Furthermore, a culture is shaped by what the leaders tolerates. If you hope to have a successful culture, you need to be prepared as leaders to protect and defend the happy, healthy, wealthy culture with your life.
“The CORE Purpose of all outrageously successful leaders is that they protect and defend a happy, healthy, wealthy culture with their lives.” — Ryan Chute
Different Definitions of Culture
Let’s talk about culture. What is it? The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of culture is “the customary beliefs and social forms of a racial, religious or social group. It’s also the material traits of said group.”
But, culture means different things to different people. For some, culture is about the music they listen to, food, or the language they speak. For others, culture is about their values and traditions. And still, for others, culture is about how they dress or behave in certain situations.
So, when we’re talking about culture, what exactly are we talking about?
The first definition of culture starts in biology.
A petri dish is an apparatus used to study bacteria, other microorganisms, and tissue cells. It can be either transparent or translucent. In biology, a culture is a population of cells or multicellular organisms in which members of the same species maintain close physical association and cooperate in various ways.
Do you want to create a culture of success? Follow these steps.
Step One: Environment
To cultivate bacteria, you need the right environment. That means providing the correct temperature, humidity, and type of airflow. You also need to ensure the surface on which you are growing the culture is clean and free of contaminants.
Step Two: Nutrients
Bacteria need food to grow. This food is called “culture media.” There are many different types of culture media, each designed for producing different types of bacteria. The most common type of cultural media is agar, a gelatinous substance that bacteria can feed on.
Step Three: Time
Bacteria proliferate, so you don’t need to wait long for a culture to develop. However, different types of bacteria have different growth rates. For example, some bacteria double in as little as 20 minutes, while others may take several hours.
The second definition of culture is all about the arts. A cultured person has a deep appreciation for the arts and humanities. They are knowledgeable in many fields, have a great sense of refinement, and engage in intelligent conversations about various topics.
Cultivating a culture or an appreciation for the arts can be done in many different ways. One way is to make a concerted effort to visit art galleries, museums, and historical sites. Another way is to seek opportunities to attend live performances, such as concerts, theatre productions and dance recitals.
Reading books, watching films, and listening to music are excellent ways to learn more about the arts. You can also expand your cultural horizons.
No matter how it is pursued, cultivating a love for the arts is a rewarding endeavor. It can enrich your life in many different ways. People knowledgeable about the arts tend to be more well-rounded and open-minded. They also often have a greater appreciation for the beauty of the world around them.
In addition, those who appreciate the arts are typically more creative and expressive individuals. Pursuing an interest in the arts can also help people to better understand and connect with other cultures.
Imagine you’re attending a local art show or listening to a new album by a foreign artist. Remember that you’re engaging in an activity that has the power to change your perspective and improve your life. Embrace the arts and let them enrich your world.
As one of Roy’s friends, Susan Ryan, said, “Culture eats strategy for lunch.” That explains the third definition of culture pretty clearly. She means that culture is more important than any strategic plan or goal. Organizations must first understand their culture before they can change it.
To change its culture, an organization must first understand the definition of culture. Only then can it begin cultivating a culture in the workplace. It must also be willing to embrace change.
Your company’s culture is expressed as the spirit of the group. If you want a strong culture, you need strong values. You also need to reward and celebrate employee practices and behaviors.
Otherwise, you’re simply putting on a show or perpetuating a farce.
As you can see, culture means different things to different people. There is no right or wrong answer. The important thing is taking the time to understand the definition of culture and how each applies to your organization. Only then can you begin to change your culture for the better.
“Anyone can copy your strategy, but no one can copy your culture.”
— Roy H. Williams
Branding and Culture
“Branding is nothing more than corporate culture made known.” — Roy H. Williams
A company’s culture and values are the foundation of its brand. The definition of culture describes how the company does business. It’s also how it treats its employees and customers and what kind of products or services it produces.
A company’s values are reflected in its brand promise, which is the essence of what the company stands for. A company’s culture should align with its brand promise; otherwise, the brand will be perceived as inauthentic.
To build a strong brand, you must first know how to cultivate a culture or how to improve our culture.
“Culture doesn’t eat strategy for lunch. Culture IS the strategy.” – Ryan Chute