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Corporate Culture – An Introduction

One of the best byproducts of writing a book is the large amount of accumulated knowledge; some of it is in my book, some still in my file cabinet, and some still stuck in my head. Corporate culture is a topic that is still stuck in my head. While corporate culture was not expressly addressed in Zebedee and Sons Fishing Co, Business Advice from the Bible, it is a topic that is embedded in the entire book.

Most topics in the book ultimately lead to recommendations that, if to be long-lasting and effective, require a change, sometimes a complete change, in how the business operates. For example, to accomplish effectual accountability requires a cultural change in how the business prioritizes responsibility. Better marketing of products and services calls for a cultural change in how we sell ourselves – which requires us to re-think how we envision ourselves.

How we picture our successes and failures necessitates a cultural shift in how we manage people and projects. Certainly, each topic has specific steps that should be followed to improve accountability, better market our business, and improve how we manage people and projects. And the source of those steps is found in the Bible.

But to really make long-lasting change, the entirety of the business must change.

The Bible has a lot to say about corporate culture which we are going to explore through these next series of blog posts. To start with, think of the story of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11). The story starts with everyone being the same; same language, same dress, same address, everything. These people were feeling pretty smug about themselves so they devised a plan to build a brick tower that would put them on the same level with God.

Of course, God did not appreciate His people thinking it was even possible for them to be God, so he dispersed the people and made them different in all ways – including both geographically and culturally. This was the beginnings of all our different cultures we have throughout the world.

If you are like me, however, you really do not know what “culture” means or why we should even care about our culture.

My first exposure to “culture” was in high school biology where we grew cultures in a petri dish. Over the years, I have heard of “pop culture” and “counterculture” and have read about the importance of corporate culture in improving the corporate bottom line. These are all the same word but I was not sure how their meanings tied together.

Our topics in exploring culture will include:

  1. Understanding the definitions of culture, where the confusion about its meaning stems, and why we should thing about culture in our business environment.
  2. For our businesses, we will look at how to determine what our culture is in a good sense and in a bad sense; and then follow that with ideas on how to proactively change that existing business culture.
  3. Lastly, we will look at ideas to help continually refine and manage our newly established corporate culture.

Remember, as David Cummings, Co-Founder of Pardot said “Corporate culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage that is completely within the control of the entrepreneur.”