I’ve been thinking a lot about company culture recently. I believe that there’s enormous potential in reflecting on and improving the culture; you’ve certainly heard the famous saying “culture eats strategy for breakfast” attributed to Peter Drucker.
So, what is company culture (or corporate culture)?
“Culture isn’t about what gets done, it’s about how and why things get done.” – David Siegel in The Culture Deck (read this essay for an in-depth exploration of the topic).
“Culture is the by-product of consistent behaviour. […] If you treat customers right, then treating customers right becomes your culture.” – Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, Rework
“Culture is the willing behaviors and beliefs of a group of people. […] A CEO or founder has tremendous power regarding culture.” – Scott Berkun, A Critique of “Don’t Fuck Up The Culture”
“Culture consists largely of the stories that people tell each other - like at a campfire.” – Arne Roock and Fridtjof Detzner, Doing things differently! [PDF]
“In my opinion it’s outright impossible to simply define the culture you desire and then build the company around it. In reality, culture works the other way around. It already exists in the way a company works.” – Arne Roock, Culture is the True North - Scaling at Jimdo
“It is true that culture happens whether you want it to or not. It is the DNA of the company and is in large part created by the founders – not by their words so much as their actions. So the very decision to not try to create a corporate culture, or worse, to not have company values, is in fact your choice of what culture will prevail – and not for the better.” – Bill Aulet, Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast
“A strong company culture […] comes from people practicing the spoken and unspoken values of the company, wherever in the world they might be.” – Jack Jenkins, Staying connected to a company culture remotely
(See also Organizational culture on Wikipedia.)
Update (2016-12-23): “Fix the culture and the product will follow.” – Libby Maurer, How to Fix Enterprise UX: Find Your 99%