Guest Column | November 14, 2012

The Right Way To Create A Great Corporate Culture

By Ken Thoreson, president, Acumen Management Group LTD

It’s something I seldom find in many organizations.  While many companies focus on increasing communication between employees and/or building the right kind of culture to maintain a proper atmosphere, many seem to fail. Even with the many books that have been written on communication and culture building, I see people struggling to “get it right”.  Most individuals are simply confused as to what culture is!

In many of the situations we get involved in we are required to change the current environment where attitudes, systems, and people have lost the earlier culture of entrepreneurialism and are now lost in a larger more complex organization, or worse, the company is in a free fall.

Recently during a client meeting the management team discussed the need to create or maintain their culture during the next stage of their growth. They talked about clothing styles, flex time, taking breaks, and other concepts. Where they were missing the point was culture is really not about tactical elements put together by Human Resources. While there are tactical elements in building culture, leadership must first determine what the desired culture is.

Something many people forget is culture must also be in alignment with your value proposition and your business model.  Are you a best value company? A cost efficient/low cost model or are you focused on customer intimacy?  Depending on your business situation the culture of how you lead your organization will change, but what is one of the most important considerations? It is your leadership philosophy. 

What are the basic tenets of your leadership/management style? This basic belief will guide you in how you make decisions, how and what you communicate to your employees, and how you manage your business. Get that right and ensure it has clarity and the rest will happen.

If you would like to have either of the articles below on building culture, send me an email at and I'll make sure you receive them.

  • 10 ways to build a business culture like Apple
  • 18 Actions to Build Your Culture

Hint: The two things we do quickly to build a “sales driven” culture are 1)  turn all sales quotas/reports into sales numbers rather than revenue numbers and 2) alter the process on running the weekly sales meeting by developing a prescriptive agenda format.  What are your thoughts on creating a sales driven culture?