What Makes a Strong Culture?

What Makes a Strong Culture?

I came across an HBR post from a few years ago that identified six components of great company cultures:

  1. Vision
  2. Values
  3. Practices
  4. People
  5. Narrative, and
  6. Place.

Um, no.

That’s like saying a beautiful home consists of four walls, a roof, and a door. All beautiful homes have those things, but they don’t distinguish the beautiful from the ugly. Yes, how you design your workspace impacts your culture, as do the stories you tell internally and externally about who you are and what you value, but those things ultimately do not determine the strength or greatness of your culture. So what does?

Based on our research and experience, we’re going out on a limb and pointing to these four capacities:

  1. Digital
  2. Clear
  3. Fluid
  4. Fast.

Now, every culture is unique. Yours will never be completely summarized by those four words (and the ideas behind them), nor should it be. Some of you will be more transparent than others, and some of you will attain more of that “leap-ahead” kind of speed than others, and that’s fine. But the strongest cultures are going to be ahead of the bell curve in these four areas, because today’s environment demands it and your future employees and customers (a.k.a. the Millennials) won’t have it any other way.

If you want to know how you rate in these four areas, then talk to us about some good culture analytics.

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