What is Culture?

One of the hottest words in business today is CULTURE. Nearly every business article and post talks about culture and the effects it can have on a company. As with many things that become so popular, sometimes the meaning can be distorted. So what exactly is Culture? Who is responsible for maintaining Culture? What effect does Culture have on a business? Let’s dig in!

What is Culture?

At its core, culture is a common set of beliefs that guide behavior within an organization. Often time’s people mistake culture with perks or work environments. We hear about casual Fridays, flex schedules, open work spaces on and on. These are all great things and can certainly attract and retain talent. However, they are not culture. Culture defines behavior and behavior defines performance!

Put another way, culture is what we refer to as CORE VALUES. You can tell a lot about a company by looking at the values they hold dear and how well they uphold them. Sometimes written core values are evident when you discover a company. They may be written on the walls or presented clearly on the website. That’s great but you know a culture is strong when you observe the behaviors in the people that work there. Imagine observing everyone behaving a certain way within and organization and THEN discovering the core values. Seeing that alignment is powerful and if the company’s values align with yours most likely you will have a great experience working there or doing business with them!

Who’s responsibility is Culture?

The simple answer is EVERYONE!  Referring back to the definition that culture defines behavior, then upholding and monitoring this behavior is the responsibility of everyone within the organization. At The Abs Company our core values are non-negotiable. Whether you are a team member, customer, or vendor you must uphold the values or the system falls apart. You don’t get to pick and choose which values are important to you and you don’t get to decide which ones you will abide by. It’s all in or all out!

We like to say that everyone here is a Chief Culture Officer! That means we are constantly aware of the values and how they are being upheld. When they aren’t being upheld it is everyone’s responsibility to point that out and get the behaviors back in line. The true power in the values and the culture only exist if we are living them!

What effect does culture have on business?

Looking back again at our definition, Culture defines behavior and behavior defines performance.  The effect is obvious. Performance Mirrors Culture! A company with a strong culture (one that upholds and lives by its values) attracts people who believe the same things and who behave the same way!  From a team perspective this is invaluable because a group of people who are consistently rowing the same direction will always go further than one that has members rowing against the current. This does not mean there will never be conflict within the culture. In fact companies with strong cultures invite conflict! Conflict is a very healthy thing in business as it challenges everyone to look at things with fresh eyes and new perspectives. What it means is the  conflicts are never mean spirited and are always contained within the

framework of the values. In essence the values become the north star which guide behaviors and decisions.

From a customer stand point, companies with strong cultures attract customers who believe the same things. All of us want to do business with companies  we like and trust. Having a shared sense of values enhances that trust. Companies without a strong culture often operate on a transactional basis. They move from sale to sale and are constantly trying to get that next customer. Conversely companies with a strong culture foster relationships. When you form relationships with your customers you insulate yourself from competition and create lifetime value which is a much stronger way to operate!

Thinking about culture in this way will cause you to evaluate how you run your business and who you want to do business with! At The Abs Company it is our sincere desire to work with people who share our values and to do so for a very long time! Check them out HERE and see what we’re all about!