How to Build a Winning Culture

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james-updated_34970Geoffrey James, a contributing editor for, has recently published, in Inc.,  a very interesting article that I thought of bringing it to the attention of our readers.

Mr. James is an author, speaker, and award-winning blogger. Originally a system architect, brand manager, and industry analyst inside two Fortune 100 companies, he’s interviewed over a thousand successful executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and gurus to discover how business really works.

Once a company moves beyond the start-up period, the founder’s most important job is creating a corporate culture that can grow and change. Here’s how.

Once a company gets off the ground floor, the entrepreneur’s most important job is creating a corporate culture that can continue to win as the company grows and as the market for its products continues to change.

Entrepreneurs who build cultures that adapt easily are more likely to succeed in the medium and long term. Entrepreneurs who build inflexible cultures will eventually see their brainchild behave as if it’s brain dead.

What is Corporate Culture?

Some people think corporate culture is how a company appears to the outside world: Do people wear ties or hoodies? Is there an in-house gym? Are video games in the break room? Flextime or time clock?

However, just as a negative person can wear a constant smile, companies with stodgy cultures can imitate the appearance of a “cool” workplace. Indeed, its easier for a company to replace its window dressing rather than to change a failing culture.

Other people think that a company’s mission statement defines its corporate culture. However, there are hundreds of companies whose mission statements promise “great customer service” but where, in practice, customer service is neglected.

Based upon my observations of hundreds of companies, I’ve come to the conclusion that corporate culture consists of the core beliefs of a company’s founder and the executives who oversee the company’s period of initial growth.

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