Some believe company culture can be mandated from the top down. Some believe it emerges on its own from the bottom up. A Design Executive Officer, or DEO, sidesteps this debate. He knows it must be built–iteratively, collaboratively, and over time–from the inside out.
Culture is the unique collection of beliefs and practices that communicates a company’s values, whether or not they’ve been formalized or articulated. A well-designed culture unites stakeholders in a shared understanding of “the right thing to do.” It becomes the unseen but firmly rooted infrastructure that coaches new hires and comforts old-timers. It’s the force that attracts like-minded talent and repels those with different attitudes or behaviors. A positive company culture can boost growth, while a negative or mediocre one can speed failure.
A DEO recognizes the power of company culture, but that’s not the primary reason he embraces and builds it. For a DEO, crafting an effective, authentic, and meaningful company culture is neither a choice nor a checklist item. It’s a straightforward reflection of who he is and why he wants to lead. A strong company culture reflects the DEO’s own beliefs and behavior.