10 BS Facts About Company Culture That Everyone Thinks Are True

On my recent LinkedIn post about BS facts that many people believe about company culture, the following contributors offered their findings. I want to thank them for their insights as leaders who have encountered this BS in their professional careers and provide their expertise to my readers. So here you go… 

#1 Anyone at any level can promote a change in company culture without CEO support. Amanda G. Maghari, SPHR, SHRM-SCP Executive Consultant: “Anyone at any level can promote a change in company culture. This is not true UNLESS the CEO supports AND lives and breathes the company culture. Company culture starts at the very top. Period. BS: Anyone at any level can promote a change in company culture. FACT: No employee can effectively change company culture UNLESS the CEO supports AND lives and breathes the company culture. Company culture starts at the very top. Period.”

#2 Company habits are your company culture. Ellen Shell, Founder and President ERSNY Consulting, LLC : “Company habits that are mistaken for company culture….”

#3 Company culture trumps strategy. Ellen Shell, Founder and President ERSNY Consulting, LLC: “…Also, I cringe every time someone repeats the line about culture eating strategy for lunch. I have yet to see a company succeed without a strategy.” 

#4 Company culture is solely lead by the CEO, owners, and managers. Desmond Sexton, Agent-New York Life Insurance: “Culture is determined from the top down, CEO, Development managers, etc. Bad culture is a result from only from bad owners, managers, etc. However, I feel that company culture is determined by everyone from the lowest position to the top! To “Build” company culture that you talk about Ryan, it takes everyone–every stakeholder. It’s everyone’s responsibility to develop and maintain a Culture of Good. People like to talk about how “bad” a company is but these are the very people that bring in the negativity and make their own experience terrible.”

#5 Company culture flourishes by employees memorizing the company values. Mary Douglas, Founder & Executive Director-Kindness To One Another.org: “In all my years of retail experience ” Culture” was just a buzz word for you to have memorized the company’s ten commandments. NO ONE- unfortunately, acted with any integrity, passion or soul for the meaning of the words. If the belief of company culture existed in a box, it was because the leader- store manager stood for something other than a paycheck.”

#6 “Transparency” is a crucial attribute of flourishing company culture. Dana Look-Arimoto, Executive & Leadership Coach, Best-Selling Author, Talent Ecosystem Advisor, Global Staffing Evangelist/Founder @ Soar: “Transparency is enough, without vulnerability. It’s BS because there is no authenticity without some vulnerability.  Beware the mantra of “our culture is one of transparency’…. this is usually code for top-down management, and “no news is good news.'”

#7 “Company culture” is a great buzzword for recruiting exceptional talent. Alan Ariel, CIO Services Consultant-Ariel View Solutions, LLC: Firms that use “great culture” as a recruiting buzzword rarely have it. In fact, it usually indicates the opposite. Great company culture sells itself and is demonstrated first in the way they treat those they are trying to recruit.

#8 Company culture isn’t a competitive advantage. Leslie Pagel, CCXP, Director, Market Strategy and Insights-Anthem, Inc.: Culture BS: Culture will not create a competitive advantage. Culture Truth: Culture, when intentional and more than lip service, is a competitive differentiation strategy. Culture is what attracts, retains, and grows the most essential part of a business – the people (and I mean all people – employees, customers, shareholders, partners, investors, etc.).”

#9 Company culture flourishes through engaging artifacts¬–ping pong tables, gaming stations, nerf guns. Melissa Meredith: Founder @ Chief People Officer Fueled by Meredith + Co: “Culture is the operating system (OS) of a company. What powers the OS are core values, which are not aspirational. Core values manifest in everyday behavior – who we indeed are, what we really believe, and how we actually operate. Culture is not determined by artifacts (ping pong tables, gaming stations, Nerf guns, etc.). However, company culture does indicate what’s acceptable and what’s not. As such, if “play” is a core value, the artifacts represent and support the culture.”  

#10 HR should own the company culture. Melissa Meredith: Founder @ Chief People Officer Fueled by Meredith + Co: “Culture erodes when behavior runs cross-grain to core values, and there’s no accountability.  I don’t believe HR owns culture. Instead, every person in a leadership role, especially executive leadership, is responsible for role-modeling core values and holding everyone in the company accountable to them.  The BS factor? Believing culture is not intentional or actionable. It is the essence of a company.”

What are your thought? Leave a comment below. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up for Our Newsletter

Scroll to Top