Clarifying the Elusive Concepts of Culture and Climate

Rob Cooke on culture

Culture experts and enthusiasts recently gathered in San Francisco for the 2nd Annual Ultimate Culture Conference. A theme of the day was that most leaders recognize culture as a critical factor for success, but it remains an elusive concept and has become an overused word. To kick off the conference, Tim Kuppler interviewed Rob Cooke, CEO of Human Synergistics, to explore culture along with some related constructs (like climate) that are sometimes confused or used interchangeably with it.  Some of Rob’s answers to Tim’s questions are summarized here.

The People versus the Power

people vs. power

Recently, I had the privilege to lead a session with a management team where they wanted to explore their interaction style as a leadership committee. This was a global, culturally diverse, senior team—leading over 4,000 staff between them, performing critical daily tasks for the organisation, and defining the future strategy of their division with implications for the company at large. 

Constructive culture in a correctional setting? You betcha!

fencing

Most people don’t talk about constructive cultures1 and correctional facilities in the same breath. If anything, we might imagine how rough and tumble a correctional facility needs to be to keep everyone, officers and residents alike, safe. The reality is nothing is further from the truth. Not only are constructive corrections cultures the safest; they also have the highest potential for helping those under supervision to turn themselves around.2, 3

Transforming workplace culture: One company’s story

transforming workplace culture

This post features insights from Linda Sharkey on the development of a leadership team during and after a merger integration, based on her Ultimate Culture Conference presentation with Carol Montgomery.

If your company is in the process of going through or preparing for a merger or acquisition, then you know firsthand that combining the cultures of two organizations is no easy matter.

Last fall, I had the honor of giving a talk along with Carol Montgomery, Senior VP and Chief Human Resources Officer of York Risk Services Group, at the 1st Annual Ultimate Culture Conference in Chicago. Carol and I presented a case study to show how York, following a major acquisition, was able to blend two very different types of workplace cultures.

Leading Your Safety Culture with Care

Power and Energy

An organization’s culture can sometimes be the difference between life and death. More than 4,500 job-related fatalities occurred in the US (OSHA) in the 2013-14 calendar year. This means that, on an average day, twelve people went to work but did not return home to their families at the end of the day.

In our experience, the underlying culture of a business is a significant causal factor in employee safety. Culture, in this sense, is “the way we do things around here”—“the way we approach our work and treat each other.”1