“The only thing of real importance that leaders do is create and manage [Organizational] culture”
Edgar Schein, Former Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management

Leaders need three things to be successful:

  1. Strategy (Business and Culture)
  2. Strong leadership
  3. OC (Organizational Culture)


Behind every successful organization lies a well thought out and executed business strategy, usually encompassed through the mission and vision. In many forward thinking organizations this is taken a step further to capture the organization’s purpose – why the organization exists and how their existence creates intrinsic and extrinsic value for not only the organization, but for the world in general.

Once an organization has a well thought out strategy they need strong leaders who can articulate that strategy in an inspiring and compelling way and set a direction that engages employees. Highly capable leaders that make decisions based on the values and philosophies of the organization understand the secret sauce to actually achieving the strategy is to develop an Organizational Culture (OC) that unleashes employees’ passion, potential and performance. Thus creating the only sustainable competitive advantage.

What does your organization value? What are your organization’s philosophies? Do leaders at all levels demonstrate those values and philosophies through their actions or do they just pay them lip service? An organization’s actions, as demonstrated through their leaders’ actions ARE the OC, regardless of what you said you wanted your OC to be.

For example, if as an organization you say you value work/life balance, but then leaders send emails and leave voicemails at all hours of the day and night, during the workweek and on weekends and refuse to unplug on vacation and worse yet, require their middle managers to stay plugged in 24/7 and during vacation, you have a 24/7 OC not a worklife/balance OC.

There are no right or wrong OCs, but the problem comes in when you purport you have one kind of OC and your actions scream another.

What are you doing to create and manage your OC? How do you select and onboard new employees to ensure your desired OC continues to thrive? When times get tough and someone’s breathing down your neck, what do your actions say about your OC?