Every organization has a Culture. It’s just natural for every group big or small that gathers together regularly to evolve a Culture, sports teams, poker buddies, neighborhoods, etc. The Culture is the unwritten set of rules about how the group, team, organization works. What you can do, what you can’t do, what’s OK to joke about, what’s not, etc. Culture has been characterized as what people do when no one is looking.
What makes Culture important in an organization is that it defines and drives behavior and behavior is the foundation of performance. Most organizations have a Culture by default that evolves over time, shaped mostly by the most dominant personalities. Whereas world-class companies understand that their culture has a significant and direct impact on how their people perform. It is one of the biggest opportunities to establish a sustainable competitive advantage.
“Culture was everything”-Lou Gestner in speaking about his remarkable turnaround of IBM
World-class organizations don’t leave any of this to chance. They don’t hope the right culture emerges. Instead, they create and drive their culture intentionally. To do that they must first determine and clarify what those behaviors would look like. In other words, they must determine the Fundamental behaviors on which to build their Culture by Design.