Patchwork Cultures

Forget best practices, expert advice, and case studies claiming to prove that a particular type of culture works best.

Instead, let’s state straight what you’ve known all along but didn’t dare to say out loud:

“This stuff that Zappos does? It sounds great. BUT IT WOULD NEVER WORK HERE!”

You are right. It wouldn’t.

You can’t cultivate a healthy culture hastily patching random practices together.

Patchwork cultures fail every time. They come apart at the seams right when you need them most, leaving you wondering: WTF has just happened? They are inauthentic and weak, unable to withstand pressure or adapt to change.

Given a choice, no one picks a company with a patchwork culture. Not to buy from, not to invest in, and certainly not to work for.

We all want to do business and engage with companies that have a distinctive, ONE OF A KIND culture. We are all drawn to cultures that are an idiosyncratic expression of what the company stands for and why it came into being in the first place.

If you want a culture that will help your people and your business to stand out, thrive, and make a dent in the world, you need a ONE OF A KIND culture, too.

So let others do what makes sense for them. Let culture gurus praise that one type of culture they wrote a book about – one that’s supposed to make you invincible. (It won’t.)


The good news is that you already have all the answers you need. You just have to unlock them. And when you do, you might get a culture that others admire but are unable to copy.

You’ll know you’ve succeeded when people say: “The stuff that they do? It’s great. BUT IT WOULD NEVER WORK HERE.”

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