If you read our last post, you’ll already be in the loop about the current wave of intrigue and challenge surrounding company culture. And you’ll be up to speed on the first of the five myths we’ve busted at Argon & Co on this subject: ‘Of course we are aware of our own culture!’. Having taken that reality check on internal knowledge, it’s time to look at how we go about directing people towards the behaviours we’d like them to adopt:

Company Culture Myth #2:  Once everyone knows our values, the culture we’re aiming for will follow. 

There’s no dispute that a desired company culture needs to be underpinned by clearly defined values. Judging by the number of times we’ve seen these displayed on organisations’ walls, it seems everyone is getting that particular memo. But then what? In our experience, whoever is responsible for implementing company culture seems to drop the ball at that point. Job done. They couldn’t be more wrong!  

Circulating the list of values barely scratches the surface of what really needs to happen if you actually want them to stick. As you well know, people are not machines. Desired behaviours, especially if they are different to those currently being exhibited, need to be cultivated and nurtured. Like training a delicate climbing plant to grow the way you want.   

Company culture is a living organism. You can’t just plant the seed – by distributing a set of values and/or conducting a one-off induction programme – and expect it to grow in a uniform manner, exactly as planned. Culture needs daily attention, evaluation, feedback and correction to ensure behaviours remain aligned with the company’s mission and vision.  

In conclusion: Culture is a never-ending project which needs continual nurturing, guidance and stimulation.

Ready for the next installment? 

Over the next few weeks, we’ll share the remaining three Company Culture myths we identified. 

Aart Willem de Wolf

Senior Partner

[email protected]

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