It’s Not About The Foosball

Let’s take a moment to define what a ‘strong culture’ means.  Here’s what it doesn’t mean:

  • Foosball tables and happy hours
  • Free food
  • One big party
  • All fun, all the time
  • A culture just like Zappos, Netflix, JetBlue, Google or anyone else

A strong culture is all about alignment.  Alignment of everything!  From the vision you’re all trying to realize and the values that actually dictate team member behaviors, to the go-to-market strategy and objectives, to the way you measure and reward performance – all must be aligned. A strong culture is the environment created through this alignment – it’s like the water to a fish.  You can’t necessarily point to it, but you can feel it – and observe it – all around you.

One of the better (and simpler) models I’ve seen for cultural alignment was developed by Marvin Bower, founder of McKinsey & Co.:

It’s the alignment between the company’s values, objectives, strategy, tactics and controls that ultimately create a strong, high-functioning environment in support of the company’s vision/mission.


2 Comments on “It’s Not About The Foosball”

  1. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate to this superb blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to fresh updates and will share this website with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  2. Interesting, and I would also add the the company is made of people, and the people behavior should also be aligned with the company core values and culture. Cheers!


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