Many leaders have written and spoken about the importance of culture in building and sustaining a great team. But what specifically does the word culture refer to? Is it about setting up an open office layout? Or following the “no assholes” rule? Or favoring independence and risk taking over process and predictability?
The culture of your company can be any or all of those things, depending on what is important to the individuals that make up the team. For the purposes of this chapter, we define team culture as:
The expression of what we believe, as shown in the things we do and the way we do them.
There are two key concepts embedded in that definition: core values and cultural practices. Let’s take a closer look at each.
Deeply held beliefs, which we’ll refer to as core values, are the foundation of team culture. We humans tend to hold onto our beliefs, changing them very slowly if at all. So a team’s core values tend to remain fairly constant over time. Here are some examples of how companies have described their core values:
Instagram: “Do the simple thing first”
Notice that these core values do not ...