A thriving company culture is not going to create itself

By Simon D’Arcy

Human beings are wired to survive. The downside of that wiring is reactive thinking and behavior. When you put a group of people together, add complexity, uncertainty and the fast pace of today’s business environment, what you usually end up with is a mediocre corporate culture. The limbic system (the automatic, feeling, quick-reacting part of our mid-brain) interprets ambiguity, uncertainty and differences with others as potential threats and acts accordingly. Left unchecked, this creates what we call a “Culture by Default.” Which is another way of saying this is the culture you get when you ignore culture. Symptoms of a “Culture by Default” include:

  • Us vs. them thinking
  • Blame
  • Avoiding (e.g., hiding behind email)
  • Victim mentality
  • Lack of ownership for organization’s strategy and goals
  • Gossip
  • Underground communications
  • Shrinking the game (lowered aspirations)
  • Superficial conversations

Multiply these behaviors by the number of employees in your organization and they quickly create a significant drag on performance.  It takes a conscious and coordinated effort to create something different.  Culture coding is a deliberate endeavor and an active process of designing and embedding a company culture by design.

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Simon D'Arcy

Simon is a thought-leader on organizational culture with more than 20 years experience as an organizational development consultant and executive coach on 6 continents for hundreds of seniors leaders from Fortune 1000 companies. He is the founder and curator of www.culturecoding.com, a resource for leaders curious about the latest inspiration and insight on culture building.  He is also the author of the forthcoming Culture Builders Manifesto. As a partner at Evolution, he helps fast growing start-ups to scale quickly without losing their soul. He lives in Santa Barbara, CA with his wife Tamra Rutherford.

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