Putting the “Cult” Back in Culture

Ken Larson

Every single workplace has a culture whether they realize it or not.

Nike does.
The local coffee shop does.
Your business does.
However, it’s been my experience that far too many leaders assume that culture is uncontrollable and unchangeable.

Why is This Mindset So Prevalent?

Most leaders, regardless of company size, focus the entirety of their attention and energy in the business itself, so they interact with their work environment and culture in a reactive way instead of a proactive way. 


Try Viewing “Culture” as a Large Ship

It’s very powerful, and without direction, it will go wherever it wants: maybe even straight into an iceberg.

However, if you remove yourself from the potentially hazardous mindset of “It is what it is,” and if you focus some energy on trying to find the steering wheel, you’ll soon figure out how to guide the ship. Sure, it takes time and tremendous focus, but this mindset yields positive results. 


Benefits of Establishing a Positive, Purposeful Culture:


  • More interest during the recruitment process – An interesting, purposeful culture yields innovative applicants. Promoting your culture in job descriptions and on your company website is a great way to gain interest from potential recruits before you even interview them.


  • Offering non-monetary benefits saves you money – Not all benefits need to be monetarily-based. Many individuals appreciate environmental and small benefits like shuffleboard and the opportunity to play other games at the office. These tactics are useful for small or growing businesses that can’t yet afford to offer their employees above-market salaries, retirement plans, or juicy bonuses. 

However, these stress-relief initiatives are also beneficial for larger companies. If you can dedicate entire rooms to this stress-relief effort, you’ll notice an increase in employee morale, and you’ll find that it’s much less distracting to the other team members.


How Do I Put the “Cult” Back in Culture?

Make it unique!
Be different!
Create jealousy in the market!

One of my clients in the marketing industry uses these tactics to bring their team together while offering a truly unique working environment:

  • 4-Square tournaments
  • Nintendo 
  • Beer on tap
  • Food truck lunches
  • A company Spotify playlist
  • A focus on humor with playful, yet respectful sarcasm


How Do High-Performers Perpetuate the “Cult”?

Certain cultures can be used as tools for business growth.
Employees who experience a beneficial culture will work hard to keep it. When positive culture is noticed, morale is elevated, and employees feel a need to “protect” that culture. They OWN it!

Here’s an example:

My marketing client has implemented an extensive hiring process that has yielded positive results. 

While their employees appreciate the unique benefits of their work environment, they don’t spend all day playing NBA Jam or 4-square in the parking lot. 

Since the recruitment process is a well-oiled machine that brings aboard only the highest performing individuals in the area, these benefits aren’t abused.  They are simply utilized to drive the culture, and business, forward.

When you employ high-performers, you stop babysitting. Click To Tweet

The best employees will unique benefits for mind-breaks, not time-killers.


I realize that implementing a controlled, positive, purposeful culture that makes employees eager to come to work every morning is easier said than done.


Don’t Lose Hope, Captain!

Remember, ships don’t turn on a dime. It may take weeks, months, or even longer for you to gain the confidence that your culture is headed in the right direction. Sure, there will be waves, but after a while, you’ll learn how to navigate.

So now’s the time to start.
Don’t let the sea swallow up your people in the process!

If you need help establishing and defining a company culture that your employees will continually build and protect, we can help with that. 

Let’s talk.