LSA Global Insights Newsletter: 3 Big Corporate Culture Myths

9.29.2014

3 Big Corporate Culture Myths


Successful (and unsuccessful) corporate cultures can take on many different shapes and sizes.

While we are heartened by the increased attention being given to the importance of organizational culture, we are concerned about some of the misinformation being propagated by practitioners promising quick fixes and silver bullets for everything that ails under-performing businesses.

We define culture as how things get done in an organization - especially when no one is looking. We believe that organizational cultures exist by design or by default. And, regardless of their origin, they can play a critical role in your company's success.

Test yourself against these three common myths.

Myth #1:
As long as you hire similar and smart people, your culture will be a competitive advantage.

Let's start with the well-intentioned idea of hiring similar people - people like you. Successful teams thrive on diversity in approach, style and background as long as they have a way of dealing effectively and productively with differences. In fact, according to research published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin by the School of Management at Brigham Young University and the Stanford Graduate School of Business, the richer the mix of players, the better the decision making and overall group effectiveness.

Secondly, hiring for skills and intelligence over cultural fit will not get you the talent that thrives in your unique culture. In fact, if you only look for "smarts" you may seriously sabotage your goal of creating a high performing corporate culture. Google learned this lesson during a period of high growth and now ensures that in addition to desired levels of proficiency, new hires have the right "Googliness." This includes the ability to collaborate, learn, handle ambiguity and be agile. In general, skills can be taught, but the key behavioral competencies that make sense for your unique corporate culture often cannot be learned.

Lastly, corporate culture is about more than who you hire. It is about the underlying values and assumptions that drive key business practices and behaviors. It is also about the level of alignment that those practices and behaviors have with your corporate strategy. High performing cultures are clearly understood, consistently modeled and observed, and intensely leveraged to drive peak performance.

Read More about the other 2 Culture Myths

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned