The behaviors we tolerate

There are so many definitions of corporate culture floating around that anyone should be excused for not being able to properly define it.

One of my favorite definitions goes like this: How things are really done around here. It’s simple, intuitive, and it highlights the sad reality that in many organizations we often say one thing and do another.

Today I ran across another definition that may be slightly superior: The behaviors we allow or tolerate in the workplace. It has all the benefits of the prior definition and adds an element of responsibility (or blame) on all employees. Anyone who tolerates bad behavior is partly responsible for the culture they live in.

Many E&C professionals are being asked by their C-suite how to change the culture of their organization. These leaders feel that culture is amorphous, random and magical. By defining culture as “the behaviors that the C-suite tolerates”, it should instantly create in their mind the path they need to take.

Whether they take it is another story.

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