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Is Culture Worth Dying For?

By April 25, 2014January 15th, 2020Uncategorized

This week my wife and I watched the movie Monuments Men (trailer below). It’s about a handful of men during WWII who gave themselves to the mission of saving art from being destroyed by the Nazi’s. I highly recommend it – it was great.

At one point in the movie, the question is raised as to whether art is worth dying for. The leader of the Monuments Men team, Frank Stokes (played by Clooney) replies:

“If you destroy an entire generation of people’s culture, it’s as if they never existed. That’s what Hitler wants and it’s the one thing we can’t allow.”

In the film, watching this dialogue, it occurred to me that this is the reason why paying attention to culture is so important in your company – it acknowledges people’s existence. Acknowledging people’s existence will result in more a more engaged team which will result in greater satisfaction. Satisfied, cared for people will contribute more and make a better product (or service), in the end.

In my experience, I’ve found that corporate America is so intent on tangibles, that the intangibles (like values & workplace culture) are not paid much attention to. What are the implications of this?

Simply put – you can have the best strategy on earth. But if you have a bad culture – your strategy will never get executed. I heard someone say it like this once: Having bad culture will eat your strategy for breakfast. So true.

Sure – strategy needs to be clarified and communicated, I do this with teams. But before that, culture needs to be addressed. Knowing each other as humans by hearing each other’s stories, is foundational to having a healthy culture. Then you can get to how you should interact and have hard conversations. Defining those things should always come before you work on your strategy.

Sound necessary? Take a look at my services page and send me an email. Let’s design an offsite to best serve the cultural needs of your team. Then we’ll design a strategy together that will get executed with health and precision.

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