Fluffy Bunnies & Corporate Culture

I’m sorry about this, I really am. But I feel the need to point out a few basics about corporate culture.

Corporate culture does not mean happy, friendly, fuzzy bunny teamwork.
It does not involve sympathy, peace, understanding or doing the right thing for others.
Nor does in mean showing respect, reciting core values and promoting personal development.
It MAY mean some of these things; but I keep having conversations where people are clearly mentally substituting ‘culture’ for ‘hippy’.
Here are some diverse organisations for you to think about for a moment….


(Apple, US Navy Seals ,Google, British Olympic Cycling Team, Starbucks, IBM, UK National Health Service, JCB, Virgin Atlantic)
Do they have the same culture? No.
Do they have strong cultures? Yes.
Are they successful at what they do? Yes.
Could they do better? Always.

What they DO share is a group of people drawn to others with the same beliefs, visions and aspirations as themselves. They provide an environment where people can ‘fit’, feel comfortable and be part of a large tribe working towards a common goal. Could most employees from one easily fit in another? No.

The culture of a company is what defines it’s heart & soul. Changing culture means changing (and challenging ) behaviours, perceptions and beliefs. 
Never try and emulate another companies culture – be proud of what you have, remember that people came to work with you because they were drawn to you.
  • If you need to change your culture, make sure you know what your culture looks like today, and make sure you properly measure it’s current state.
  • Be absolutely clear on your business goals, and why the culture you have is a risk to their delivery.
  • Then work towards changing culture from the top down, the bottom up and the middle out. 
Use employee engagement methods, behavioural changes, leadership training, communications skills, corporate events, fire the people who don’t fit, promote those that do, make your actions match your words and commitments.
But above all else – measure the effects of everything you do. Measure the engagement improvements, the attrition rates, the effect on quota achievement, on employee opinion, on social media, on the multitude of things that contribute towards your success (financial or otherwise).
And remember. You are unique, your company is unique. It may be that you need to be more aggressive, more dictatorial, more individualist. It may be that you need to work harder together, it may be that more respect is needed. It WILL mean tough decisions.
Lose the fluffy bunny from your mind.
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  • Lisa Jackson

    I like this article, especially the piece about being cautious and rigorous about making changes in a successful culture. There is a lot of research on how culture drives business performance, and like there are many successful personalities of great leaders, there are many ways to express the core principles of successful culture building.

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