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Critical Factors That Drive Your Organizational Culture

TristamBrown_200Today's guest post is by Tris Brown, CEO of LSA Global.



Your company culture is more than just a phrase or a tagline; it’s the heart of how things truly get done at your company. It is the key to strategy execution and high performance.

As an example of culture’s importance, take a look at this video clip, from the movie The Internship, which I showed to the audience during my recent presentation at the Sales 2.0 Conference in San Francisco.

In the context of this movie, Google has a strong sense of its company culture. What’s so funny is that the two characters clearly don’t fit in, and their stints at Google will not and should not last if the culture has high performance attributes.

Organizational culture is not “soft” stuff. Harvard Business Review says that up to half of the difference in performance between companies in the same industry can be attributed to culture. Think about it this way: in nature, organisms change when their environment changes. The same is true for people. If people truly want to succeed and be a part of your company, they’ll conform to your culture. If they don’t, they’ll eventually be weeded out, one way or another. In terms of performance, this is a good thing.

At the Sales 2.0 Conference, I asked the audience members what factors they think drive extraordinary results in the following three high-performance environments: 1) the Olympic Games, 2) the singing competition American Idol, and 3) the weight-loss competition The Biggest Loser. Here’s what they said: 

  • Clear goals

  • National pride

  • Recognition

  • Coaching

  • Competition

More personal and world records are broken during the Olympics than at any other sporting event in the world. In a relatively short period of time, American Idol takes raw talent and dramatically improves contestants’ performance to create best-selling recording artists. The Biggest Loser, a show that features obese people competing to win a cash prize by losing the highest percentage of weight, dramatically changes lives fast. 

What is it about these environments that foster high performance? I believe it is their high performance culture. It’s the leader’s responsibility to create this culture, aligned with the company’s business strategy. That is how leaders set their teams up to succeed on a consistent basis.

Remember, culture is not what you want to be or what you aspire to be. It’s what’s true about your company. Every company has a culture, and it exists either by design or default. Is yours designed to win? Read more by downloading our white paper, “Top 5 Warning Signs that Your Performance Environment May Be in Trouble.”

As a leader, how do you use clarity, competition, meaning, recognition, and coaching to inspire and propel your teams to succeed? Share your thoughts in the comments section.


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Owen Forth

Great post! Very straight to the point. I realized now why gameshow contestants perform way better than the average. A contestant performs their best because they want to part of something that glorifies a great performance. They want to feel accepted and admired. Same as in business. An employee wants to be part of something cool and that can recognize their potential. It's in the culture (

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