The Litmus Test of Your Culture

The ability to work hard and have fun with your team can be a litmus test of the strength and vitality of your company.

People can have a compelling purpose and strong core values and talk about culture all they want. But where it really shows up is what happens organically, when people in a company get together, in or out of work. A true culture represents the common beliefs and behaviours that people in the company share – and that’s why people who don’t get the culture can be so disruptive and create dysfunction.

You can tell the culture is incredibly strong, not because it’s written on paper but when a group of people – some who barely know each other – can come together and have an amazing time.

That was certainly the case at the last strategic planning meeting for our India-based client Ashiana Housing Ltd, which has an amazing culture. In a year when we don’t quite hit our numbers, we stay local. But, when we meet our targets, we go to a different location. This time, after a spectacular year, we gathered in Istanbul, Turkey.

And while the executives bring their partners, this is no holiday. We work incredibly hard, while partners explore, and then meet later in the day for dinner and activities together.

The amount of laughter and fun – in the meetings and after – was consistent with their culture.

A good time was had by all, especially on Karaoke night. People didn’t even notice the amazing food the hotel chefs brought into our ballroom, as they shouted enthusiastic encouragement to each other. Every single person got up to perform at least one song – including me, which is unfortunate for the people who had to listen!

Building culture starts at the top, is a lot of work and well worth the investment when people play together as well as they work. That’s a litmus test worth passing.

The Challenge

    • Does the natural organic behaviour of your team match the culture you are trying to create or that your documents outline: In meetings, and when your team gathers outside the office?
    • What might you do to enhance your culture make your team stronger when you are together?

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