Steven Sinofsky

Tools are often successful because of the culture that implemented the tool, not because of the culture the tool created. […] The key to introducing a new tool is looking at what is being abandoned in tools and processes, not what is being added.

Bill Aulet

Culture eats strategy for breakfast, operational excellence for lunch, and everything else for dinner.

Ed Catmull

You don’t want to be at a company where there is more candor in the hallways than in the rooms where fundamental ideas or policy are being hashed out. Seek out people who are willing to level with you, and […] hold them close.

Adam Grant

A resilient culture has a certain amount of resistance embedded in it. Not too much to capsize it, but enough so that it doesn’t atrophy. What happens when startups get successful and grow is that they become more and more vulnerable to the attraction-selection-attrition cycle, where people of the same stripes are increasingly drawn to the organization, chosen by it and retained at it. The … [ Read more ]

Natalie Baumgartner

We know from research literature that there are not right or wrong cultures. What we know is that there is no certain type of culture that predicts high performance. What predicts this is culture alignment – you understand your core values, and everything you do, how you hire, develop, mentor, guide, engage your employees. When the values are aligned, those organizations are way more profitable. … [ Read more ]

Erin Meyer

At a deep level, no matter where we come from, we are driven by common physiological and psychological needs and motivations. Yet the culture in which we grow up in has a significant bearing on the ways we see communication patterns as effective or undesirable, to find certain arguments persuasive or lacking merit, to consider certain ways of making decisions or measuring time “natural” or … [ Read more ]

Sam Altman

Don’t compromise on the quality of people you hire. Everyone knows this, and yet everyone compromises on this at some point during a desperate need. Everyone goes on to regret it, and it sometimes almost kills the company. Good and bad people are both infectious, and if you start with mediocre people, the average does not usually trend up. […] Finally, fire quickly. Everyone knows … [ Read more ]

How Did Jeff Bezos Scale Amazon Without Destroying Its Entrepreneurial Culture?

Running a start-up is profoundly different than running a big company. When you’re small, founders are close to the action and can make sure all the important things happen. But as a start-up scales, founders can’t have their hands in everything: many companies lose focus on the customer; decisions get bogged down; and there are hiring mistakes. We’ve all seen these things happen to good … [ Read more ]

3 Situations Where Cross-Cultural Communication Breaks Down

The strength of cross-cultural teams is their diversity of experience, perspective, and insight. But to capture those riches, colleagues must commit to open communication; they must dare to share. Unfortunately, this is rarely easy. In the 25 years we’ve spent researching global work groups, we’ve found that challenges typically arise in three areas.

Erin Meyer

We all come from somewhere. Where we come from affects the way we view things, and the way we understand one another. In every international situation, some things are cultural, and some things are personal. If it’s cultural, then you need to help people in the room understand that, for example, when someone speaks in a way that is startlingly direct, that’s because where he … [ Read more ]

Erin Meyer

The advantage to having people from all over the world on a team is that you may find that you have more innovation and creativity, and that you’re closer to your local markets. The disadvantage is that multinational teamwork is usually a lot less efficient than monocultural teamwork. When we’re all from the same culture, we don’t have to talk about how we work together. … [ Read more ]

You Hire for Culture Fit – But Have You Established What Your Culture Is?

The somewhat vague concept of “culture fit” remains a factor in virtually every hire that is made, and a factor considered vital by both employers and candidates. Having said that, the way in which a candidate’s culture fit is typically assessed invites unconscious biases that can result in less than optimal hiring decisions. Candidly, culture fit is a vague and unscientific concept that warrants careful … [ Read more ]

Andy Molinsky

If you’ve ever received any cross-cultural training … chances are… it has focused on differences: differences in communication styles (like how Japanese workers are less direct than Germans) or differences in values (like how Americans have more individualistic values than those in China). It may have even focused on differences in etiquette — like how in the United States you can write on the back … [ Read more ]

Ray Dalio

Creating a great culture, finding the right people, managing them to do great things, and solving problems creatively and systematically are challenges faced by all organizations. What differentiates [organizations] is how they approach these challenges.

Rick Hillier

There are three legs to the leadership stool: experience, training and education. The seat of the stool is mentoring, which holds everything together. If you develop leaders with that process in mind and a base of articulated values, you start to build the right culture, remove the impediments and begin to have an organization with leaders that are focused on people who are inclusive and … [ Read more ]

Will Dean

Culture eats strategy for breakfast, and it’s far easier to keep the right culture on track than get the wrong one back on track.

Jon Katzenbach, Rutger von Post, and James Thomas

We have found, through numerous cultural interventions with a wide range of organizations […] that companies that eschew all-encompassing culture change initiatives and instead focus on three specific elements—critical behaviors, existing cultural traits, and critical informal leaders—have the most success. We call these “the critical few.”

David Greenberg

The future of risk management lies in an ability to incorporate and inspire more of the behaviors we want, finding new models to map, monitor, intervene, support, and react to the behaviors of individuals and groups—both the behaviors we want to encourage and those we’d like to avoid. Critically, this taking account of behavior means that we need a much sharper comprehensive strategy for corporate … [ Read more ]

Peter Senge

Structure influences behavior. When placed in the same system, people, however different, tend to produce similar results.

Sir William Castell

It’s clear to me that you can never have a single culture in an international company. Cultures are molded by countries, by fiscal systems, by the systems people work in—they’re different from the West Coast to the East Coast of the United States, and they’re different in Sweden, Norway and Japan. Anyone who believes they can impose a single corporate culture across a global company … [ Read more ]