9Creating the Atmosphere for Growth

You can’t outsource culture! You must shape it, define it, and live it.

Although the Sherpa guides can’t set the climate on Mount Everest, with its freezing temperatures and rapidly changing weather patterns, they can shape the atmosphere of their teams and the way things are done on the mountain from a leadership perspective. It takes work to establish and keep the healthy culture of any group of people, which is why there are so few leaders worth following in the world and why we need so many more.

We define culture as atmosphere. It is the air that people breathe while they are doing their work inside a team or organization. The leader defines the atmosphere by their style and standards. They shape it by their actions and reactions. They shape it by who they are and the work they’ve done on themselves to become leaders worth following.

Culture has many definitions. Our friend, author Ricardo González, says that the culture of a particular people group is defined by its language (or languages), beliefs, norms, symbols, and values.1 He goes on to say that most of us are managing multiple cultures on a daily basis, including our family culture, our work culture, and our ethnic culture. There are thousands of rich cultures of people groups across the world. Each country, ethnicity, or organization has its own culture, and within the macro culture, there are even more subcultures.

Because culture is first and foremost about people and their ...

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