A corporate culture is not something that you buy or ask for and then you get it. You don’t simply state how you want your company’s culture to be and magically it happens. It takes time, protection, and effort.
As Cherwell Software continues to grow, each new addition tweaks the culture and nature of our company. Each person we add shapes our story like the characters in a novel. So many large companies start off with values and culture as their focus; however, as they grow, those ideas and the original spark are forgotten. Money, opportunities, growth, and stock options become the focus. More people are hired who never knew about the original vision and never lived the founding values. Those who were with the company because of the culture move on to other healthier environments, and soon you have a building full of people who don’t know why they do what they do, other than for a pay check and 401K.
Each decision, each hire, each change must be held up against the company’s values and asked “does this align with our culture?” Is this who we are or who we want to be? The moment you stop asking yourself that, you can become something you never planned on becoming.
“Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.” – Gandhi
Culture is like learning another language. You must speak it daily to retain it. If you don’t keep using it, refreshing it, expanding your knowledge of the language, then soon you won’t remember any of it. Your fluency will be lost. Culture is the same way. We must speak it in our meetings, on every level of management, even in our hiring process. Once we stop cultivating it, it slowly becomes rusty, and then forgotten.
Aristotle is quoted with saying, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Culture needs to become our habit.