Culture as the drive for Business Success

As the world faces one of the worst crises in recent times, what inspires people and corporations to stand out, fight back, and respond effectively?


To have it clearer. Do you know how we count on people in some parts of the world to behave in a certain way? For example, how locals in Germany will never attempt to cross at a traffic intersection until the lights have changed to green. 

Or Japan. Seldom are there any reports of rioting or looting during natural calamities. So too Switzerland where farmers high up in the Alps ‘trust’ customers to leave payment for goods they pick up from ‘honesty’ shops.

Culture is memory

To me, these are great examples of how culture can be directly associated with memory. Driven by templates created and passed on across generations, culture gets reinforced in the ‘doing’. Take for example the ‘order loving’ stereotype associated with Germans. The average German are expected to abide by the rules in any circumstance. From waiting for the traffic light to become green before turning their engines on or avoiding to make noise in the railway.

Humans are social beings

Humans are social beings, dependent on each other’s ‘approval’ for self-validation and it is easy to see how culture plays a crucial role in shaping their behavior. If you have imbibed a ‘Norwegian approach’ to life, then you would find it strange when a rank stranger at a café in Belgium strikes up a casual conversation with you. Just having spent some time living or working in Norway could instill a distinct cultural habit that expects more formality to conversations.

Steps to Building the Workplace Culture You Want

Similarly, a Spanish tour guide would think you are disinterested if you do not convey your responses more demonstrably, perceiving your seemingly reserved Scandinavian non-verbal cues from her Spanish cultural lens of demonstrability and openness. We all see the the world through our cultural lens, through which your brain shapes your reality. If you can change the lens, not only can you change the way your brain perceives behaviors, but you can change the way people relate to cultural differences”

Culture as drive for timeless success

This is why it is important for all of those in leadership roles to really understand the value of establishing the right kind of culture in any organizations. It includes reinforcing a company-wide sense of ownership that helps each and every person in the workforce feel that they have a stake in how the enterprise shapes up and grows. A demonstrable tolerance for errors from senior leadership and along with it the ability to take quickly decisions without requiring too much proof or data. Companies that prioritize these qualities and make them part of their DNA are the ones who end up cruising through difficult times. 

Some examples of these enterprises are


Founded on a work culture defined by a ‘contributive’ spirit that has distinguished it from its early days. If most entrepreneurs started out by asking themselves how they could succeed, the founders of HP started out by asking a different question: “How could they contribute?” Why? Because pivoting a company’s culture towards contribution led the company to contribute to its own success.

A strong, crisis-resilient culture underpins several organizations across domains including Netflix, Apple,and Microsoft.

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