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What Is Workplace Culture?

Ask 10 business people the definition of culture, and you’ll get 10 different answers. Culture can be a lot of things. But, essentially, culture is the real vibe that runs through a team. It’s energy. It’s what a team believes in and the behaviors they engage in even when no one is watching.

Culture is how hard we all agree to work. It’s how fast we’re willing to dive on a dropped ball, even when we didn’t drop it. It’s how we argue passionately for what we believe then go out for lunch—even though we disagree. It’s how quickly we speak up to shut down gossip about a teammate who isn’t around. It’s about refusing to quit when things are tough. It’s about leaving nothing on the field at the end of the game because what we’re doing together matters.

Start Below the Surface

Culture is like a plant: Unless it’s nurtured, it will wilt and can eventually die. And like a tree, it’s possible for your company’s culture to look great for a while on the surface even though there are troubles at the roots.

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Your company’s beliefs and values make up the roots of its culture. That’s why it’s essential to define what your company hopes to accomplish and determine exactly what rules you’ll follow as you pursue those goals.

To see what’s happening with your company culture, you need to dig deep and ask questions about how you do business and where your vision is taking you. Every time you make a new hire, form a partnership, or align with a client, you’re planting seeds that will develop into tomorrow’s company culture.

People Make Culture

Let’s say your company values hard work, high integrity and fair play among coworkers and with customers. That’s a great list of things to care about!

What do all of those qualities have in common? Every one of them flows from the people on the team. Culture doesn’t come from where you choose to locate your business, the amenities you provide your team, or whether you post your company’s mission statement on the walls.

Great as all of those things are, they are secondary to the people who make your company what it is. The main way to create a healthy culture is finding a team of people who work together toward common goals.

The Influence of Leaders

Culture always comes from the leader. A lazy leader equals a lazy culture. A passionate leader creates a passionate culture. It’s as simple as that. When it comes to culture, more is caught than taught. A team knows when the leader’s audio doesn’t match the video. If you want to dramatically improve your team’s culture, there’s only one place to start: you.

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About the author

Ramsey Solutions

Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners. Learn More.

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