Company Culture and Values


A culture, as I’ve written in the past, is like yogurt. It’s dynamic, changing and sometimes it can go sour. I’ve shared on this Blog a number of culture types determining essentially that culture is “how we get things done around here”. Said a different way, company or organizational culture is made up of the values and practices shared by the members of the group.

When I started at Thomas Nelson I asked my employees to do something I’d done with other groups. I use a worksheet that outlines more than 50 common values (If you’d like a PDF, just post a comment or send me a direct message and I’ll email it to you). I ask the employees to name their top five and also rank them. After compiling all the results (I do a bit of cross-tabbing so I can see how different groups respond, but never ask for a person’s name) I have a good picture of the common values of the group.

As a second step, I take the compiled top five and ask the team to define them. Semantics and nuance in this area are too important to leave to chance so I want the definition of the team’s top five values.

It’s also interesting to look at the bottom five as they give leaders a glimpse into the culture for a totally different perspective. For example, five years ago “Information Sharing” was in the Bible Group’s bottom five. It told me a lot about the culture I was inheriting and gave me a big hint of what I needed to do as a leader to promote team work.

Since it’s been five years and we’ve had some changes to the team, we’re taking it again. In a future post, I’ll compare and contrast the two results.

My takeaway from all this? Doing this exercise helps me answer this question: Are the values of the team aligned with my vision and the culture my leadership team and I are trying to build? Most of the time we can legislate practices, but values are deeply held beliefs and if their don’t align with the mission, it takes time, patience, teaching and good leadership to cause the alignment necessary to create something very special.

What are your work group’s top five values?


28 Responses to “Company Culture and Values”

  1. Ron says:

    Wayne I’d like the PDF.

  2. Steve Manatt says:

    Good practice – data is never worthless…it is the interpretation that determines its worth. Can you send me the PDF? Thanks for the thoughts! I got here via MichaelHyatt’s twitter stream.

  3. John says:

    I’d love a copy of the PDF Checklist.

  4. Jeremy says:

    I would also like a copy of the pdf. Thank you.

  5. Shawn Thornton says:

    I too would like the PDF.

  6. Andrew W. says:

    I too would like a copy of the pdf. Thanks, Wayne.

  7. Richard says:

    I’d love to see your 50 values… this sounds really interesting.

  8. I too would like the PDF

  9. Steve says:

    I would like a copy of the PDF..please..thanks

  10. Ashley Usher says:

    I’d love the PDF.

  11. Wally Bock says:

    Congratulations! This post was selected as one of the five best independent business blog posts of the week in my Three Star Leadership Midweek Review of the Business Blogs.
    Wally Bock

  12. Amy says:

    Hi great post – I would love a copy of the PDF, thank you.

  13. The HR Store says:

    Can you please send me the PDF? Thanks, Wayne.

  14. Ed Connell says:

    Please send me the PDF…thanks.

  15. Bolan says:

    Thanks for offering the PDF. I would like to take a look.

  16. David S. says:

    Thank you for sharing. I would appreciate the PDF.

  17. Scott Hollander says:

    sounds like an excellent tool. would love to get a copy of the pdf. many thanks,

  18. Mark Morton says:

    A copy of the PDF would be great! Thanks.

  19. This is a great idea, could you send me a copy of the PDF when you get a chance.
    Thank you!
    Sonya Lee

  20. Paul Arnold says:

    Please send me a copy of the pdf as well.
    Paul Arnold
    Crossroads, Ann Arbor

  21. Gary Omlor says:

    Please send me your PDF listing of the 50 Common Values.
    Your blog “Company Culture and Values” was a timely post.
    Thank you!
    Gary Omlor

  22. Doug Hoffman says:

    Wayne, i’d like the PDF

  23. paul says:

    I would like a copy of the PDF. Thanks.

  24. Peter says:

    I’d love a copy of the PDF Checklist. Thank you in advance.

  25. You write well will be waiting for your new publications.

  26. JOBS_frend says:

    I liked your site, you are very interesting to write. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  27. Sounds great. I’d like to have a copy of the PDF to get a better idea of what’s involved.

  28. Wayne Hastings says:

    Would love to send this to you, but don’t know where to send it.

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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

Brennan Manning

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