A strong and healthy culture is essential for success. There’s a lot of research that confirms that. For example, a Harvard Business Professor, James L. Heskett, discovered that as much as half of the difference in operating profit between organisations can be attributed to effective cultures.

There is a quote from Seth Godin I love so much that I have it in my email signature. Every single time a message leaves my outbox, so does the quote. 

I still remember the stories people told me when I joined a consulting firm I once worked for. Mostly, they were dramatic accounts of struggle resulting in the survival of the fittest and the demise of the weak. Tales of personal sacrifice and heroic “wins” that made failure seem utterly unacceptable.

Probably the most well known and acknowledged organisational culture expert in the world, Ed Schein, was our guest shortly after he celebrated his 90th birthday. And he is not planning to slow down any time soon! His new book, “Humble Leadership” is coming out in July 2018 (you can pre-order it on Amazon) and he has plenty of new projects in the works with his son and other associates (check it out here). 

One of the main takeaways from my conversation with Ed is that there is no getting away from it - the person ultimately responsible for organisational culture is the leader. It’s what they do, what they pay attention to, and what they encourage and reward that will ultimately shape the organisation’s culture. Interestingly, it is also what the leaders don’t do and don’t pay attention to that can be a tremendously powerful culture shaping factor. As Ed said in the interview:

When it comes to culture, you get what you settle for.

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When you reflect on perceptions around organisational culture, you’ll notice a paradox that’s hard to ignore.

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