The Culture Imperative

Many organizational leaders are mystified by culture. They know intuitively that when the culture is right, teams thrive. They suspect a direct line of sight between thriving teams and financial performance. Their hunch is correct.

Studying over 200 companies, the authors of Corporate Culture And Performance discovered profound impacts of culture on long-term financial performance.


In most organizations, leaders are socialized to believe these indices of growth are driven by the right strategies and structures. It's puzzling when they invest in these and they don't yield the kinds of returns expected. It's true that getting strategy and structure right matters.

And culture is the glass ceiling on their performance. We have to have a strong culture for even the best strategy and structure to work. If we want to get strategy and structure right, we have to get culture right.

We view culture as the habits that shape how people show up together everyday in their work. These are the habits of belonging, learning, purpose, courage and self-care. When these habits are strong, team cultures thrive.

When they are weak, team cultures struggle. When we guide leaders and teams in growing more thriving cultures, we are growing the specific habits that make cultures thrive.

From our extensive research in organizational performance and the neurosciences, combined with experience in dozens of industries, we have identified 82 individual and team habits that together make for thriving, performance-enhancing cultures.

The habits are clustered in the culture ecosystem of belonging, learning, purpose, courage and self-care. When we help people grow these habits, a thriving culture grows. People work with a deeper and more expansive sense of trustworthiness, growth, focus, confidence and energy. Trust and alignment grow, which drives the velocity and agility of teams and the organization.

Being strengths-based, we operate from the reality that everyone has the prerequisite skills for each of these habits. We guide teams and leaders in turning skills into habits. We teach them how to engage these habits into how they communicate, collaborate, organize, prioritize, develop, adapt, innovate and make a positive impact on their markets. They learn how to make these habits more consistent, intrinsically motivated and sustainable.

The organizations that will outperform and outlast others will be the ones who get culture right. This has been the story for the over 5,000 companies worldwide today that are over 200 years old. This is the culture imperative.