mushroom coffee

I’m on record telling everybody that the current trend of “culture” is a bunch of baloney. You don’t have a culture.

At best, you may have a vibe in your office that’s influenced by real-time employee interactions, systems and behaviors. That’s not culture. That’s just a bunch of people who are paid to come together and choose to behave in a certain way. Then they go home. You should be thankful that they came to you with morals, values and a work ethic. You didn’t make that. You hired for it, and you’re the benefactor of solid adult choices.

At worst, you have a cult. I want to be fair because some cult members are happy. Even Scientologists think they do good work.

You’ve heard this all before.

Although you follow generally accepted accounting principles, your company isn’t the House of Medici. You don’t support art and culture. You make plastic tubing and metal fasteners. You pay people to do good work, and you encourage them to have outside lives. That’s great. Let’s not make it out to be something it isn’t.

But maybe you are like the House of Medici. You exploit people and horde wealth. That’s nothing to be proud of, and maybe you should stop throwing around the word culture as if your CEO is Pope Leo XI.

If I can’t stop you from using the word “culture” in your HR department, I want you to think about how you use it and why. I think good office environments with healthy interactions are the sum of three things: creative thinking, curation of good behaviors, and continuity of values and beliefs that can withstand turnover.

So if you’re interested in learning more about that, you can pay me a lot of money for a lovely keynote speech—where I’ll probably piss off half the people in the room—or you can hear me for free on a webinar from HCI.

Webinar! Whoo hoo!

You may disagree with me on culture, but you might also learn something and see your company in a different light. So why don’t you give it a shot?