Why You Can’t Dismiss Corporate Culture

Corporate culture is intangible, but you can feel it and see it in action. It’s evident in how employees work together, how they treat each other (and customers) in the process, and how effective the collective organization is in pursuing its goals.

Corporate culture is a true reflection of the real values of an organization. And it’s the proverbial “elephant in the room” in places where the company’s stated values don’t align with actual values. That’s why culture dominates strategic execution (“culture eats strategy”) and why it can’t be dismissed.  According to Edgar Schein, professor emeritus at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and author of several classic books on corporate culture:

“We tend to think we can separate strategy from culture, but we fail to notice that in most organizations strategic thinking is deeply colored by tacit assumptions about who they are and what their mission is.”

Here are more great quotes on corporate culture:

“I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn’t just one aspect of the game, it is the game. In the end, an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value.” – Louis Gerstner

“The culture you create or the culture you destroy will determine the success of your business.” Rebecca L. Ray

“You can’t copy culture. …  Culture is very specific to an organization, the leadership, the employee mix and time. It’s not something you can just cut and paste into another organization.”  Tim Sackett

“A quick Google search on ‘how to create a great corporate culture’ reveals … really fantastic ideas, but they won’t ensure you a great culture. At best, they set the stage for great culture to (hopefully) arise and at worst, they are unsustainable gestures meant to game culture rather than create something genuine.” Susan Piver

“No matter how brilliant or insightful your business strategy is, a badly aligned culture will defeat it.” Don Peppers

Leave a Reply