Why You Shouldn't Focus on Corporate Culture

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

A colleague of mine says that you can always tell when someone is going to lie to you because they preface the lie by saying, “In all honesty…” or “To be completely honest…” It’s a somewhat cynical view of the world, but I do understand his point—if you are going to be honest, you shouldn’t have to tell someone you are going to be honest (it’s a little insincere, at best).

That’s how I feel about organizations that make a big deal about their corporate culture. If you have to tell someone how wonderful your culture is, then is it really that great? Shouldn’t it be obvious without it having to be pointed out?

To be fair, often these conversations happen as part of a recruitment process, a vendor procurement or similar activity that involves outside parties who might not be as familiar with the internal workings of the organization. I still think the culture should be obvious—at least the main elements of it. A review of the website, a first visit to the corporate offices, etc. soon provides solid insight into how the company operates and what it holds important without having to be told about the culture.

I believe that corporate culture is critically important; it can be the glue that holds the organization together and is a powerful foundation that supports the right behavior in every …

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"Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true."

- Francis Bacon

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