Culture is what is rewarded


Don’t be fooled by posters or PowerPoint presentations. Your company culture isn’t a handful of buzzy slogans dreamed up by HR. Culture is what is rewarded and celebrated by members of a group.

From our company Slack:

Major shoutout to {redacted} for product guidance all along and helping in coordination with cross-functional teams.

Shoutout to {redacted} for quickly ramping up and creating a test plan for the project, which came to us super last minute!

A huge shoutout to {redacted} for being on top of our progress even during her PTO and being in a different time-zone.

Culture is informed by the specific behaviors that are validated by leaders and peers. The highlights above point to a culture that values collaboration, speed, and sacrifice. To understand culture you must understand behavior. To evolve culture you must shift incentives, not just language.

Culture is the Behavior You Reward and Punish, Jocelyn Goldfein, 2017