Transforming an Established Corporate Culture Vs. Establishing One Early

Leland Sandler Executive Coach

Transforming an Established Corporate Culture Vs. Establishing One Early

In my last blog story, I talked about the importance of establishing a corporate culture within a company. This week, we look at establishing one early versus transforming an already established culture. Watch this clip to learn more:

Patrick:     Can you transform a culture?

Leland:      Arguably, some say you can’t. It’s really hard to do. Can you? Yes. It takes a deep daily commitment from the CEO. The culture that you’re trying to practice needs to be modeled and managed by the next layer down, and then the next layer down. If it isn’t being modeled at the top, it goes nowhere.

Patrick:     It’s really difficult. It’s hard to swing around and pick up a water skier with an aircraft carrier. You’re not as maneuverable in that situation. But aircraft carriers are very good for other things.

Leland:      Yes, they are.

Patrick:     That is a tough thing. Should startups focus on culture in the beginning? Should they let it evolve? Will it naturally come depending on the CEO? Do you get together with the team and talk about what they want to be or not want to be? What are your thoughts on that?

Leland:      I’m a big believer that you should create your culture. It’s going to be created anyway. At the beginning, you might want to contour it so that, from a timely standpoint, it’s not impacting peoples’ time. 

Why would you put energy and time into having a culture? You want to make better decisions faster. You want to execute better. You want to communicate better. You want to do things better on a regular basis. 

In startup mode, you’re kind of in a survival phase, at least until you get some early stages of finance. If you’re going to be in that mode, why not be as good as you can possibly be? I like to say, you get to build the culture from the ground up. Otherwise, it’s going to build you.

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