What determines our behaviors as human beings at the individual and organizational level? Although it often feels as though either our biology or our personality (or both) guides our decisions about issues large and small, increasing evidence suggests that…culture trumps everything.
What happens when people who are normally loud and boisterous walk into a church or a library? They lower their voices. Did they suddenly change their biology or their personalities? Of course not. They simply responded appropriately to cultural expectations of behavior. It seems obvious in this case, but the truth is that culture has a similar impact on virtually everything that every one of us does – every day – without even realizing it. The many cultures that each of us simultaneously belong to have a disproportionate impact on the ways we think, feel and behave. As a result, leaders of organizations both large and small have the opportunity to shape their cultures in ways that foster positive outcomes for all stakeholders – from employees, to senior leaders, to shareholders, to the broader community.
This book investigates the powerful ways in which a variety of factors, to include behavioral norms, alternative corporate models, habit patterns, connectedness, trust, language, and time perspective, impact the creation of “quintessence” in organizations. It is this quintessence – or lack thereof – that ultimately determines the success and sustainability of organizations. As leaders, we get the organizations we deserve, as a direct result of the cultures we nourish (or neglect). If we want to ensure the best possible outcomes for ourselves and our organizations, we must focus on developing the cultures that foster success for all stakeholders, because…culture trumps everything.