Tending to the Heart

Lesson 1: Topic 3 of 4

James Blanchard, “the most respected CEO in Georgia” agrees. He believes that shareholder value cannot be improved by focusing solely on shareholder value. “It can only be improved by tending to the heart ― that is, the people ― of a business.” This course is designed to help you do just that. A great work environment, what we’re calling the culture at your workplace, is key to your success.

Unlike a word defined in a dictionary, there is no one universally accepted explanation of what is meant by ‘corporate culture’ (throughout this course, we will also use phrases ‘company culture,’ ‘workplace culture,’ and ‘organizational culture;’ they all refer to the same thing). You’ll find it variously described as: 

  • “The character of a company,” 
  • “The proper way to behave within an organization,” 
  • “The set of processes in an organization that affects the total motivation of its people,”
  • “A collection of beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviors that are sustained through a collective effort,” or 
  • “The beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s employees and management interact.” 

These examples are not unrelated, but the focus of each is distinctly different. 

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A well planned organizational culture will address the establishment’s vision, values, goals, ideology, market share, economic trends, products and services, and its reason for existence. Moreover, it will probably (consciously or not) reflect national and regional societal values, beliefs, and biases. This matters because the workplace culture will permeate to impact every aspect of business. To put it another way, the workplace’s culture is its ecosystem. 

To be clear: there already is a culture where you work, either an explicit one (which may or may not be well known, let alone embraced) and/or an organic one that emerges as employees interact with one another over time. It’s possible the ‘official’ culture is just lip service and ignored, while the ‘real’ one is what is seen in practice. A company culture statement that is wonderfully designed but poorly implemented will very quickly be dismissed as mere platitudes. Words must align with deeds ― as the saying goes, “practice what you preach!”