Jeff Judy

Jeff's Thoughts - May 30, 2007

Is Culture Dead?

Every now and then, "culture" becomes popular in discussions of management and best practices. Companies of all kinds worry about "corporate culture", their vision, their way of doing things, the commonalities between management and the lowest ranking employees.

Financial institutions get into fits of talking about "credit culture", "sales culture", "service culture" and more. New mission statements, new training programs, new pronouncements from leading executives make a fair amount of noise.

And then it all goes away, dies down, becomes dormant until the fad comes around again.

I'll let you in on a secret. "Culture" is just a word. It comes and it goes, in the everyday vocabulary of bank management.

But culture is there, whether we name it or not, and it has a major impact on the success of any organization. Sometimes it is just a little harder to recognize it when it isn't a popular subject for discussion.

(Actually, I'll tell you another secret. Even when "culture" is popular in the mouths of leaders of our industry, most of the people who are talking about it can't figure out what it is in their own companies.)

So how do you recognize culture, and why does it matter?

Call it what you will, your company has a culture, and that culture has a major impact on your success. Continuing to ignore the culture, much less shape it, is just another way of taking on risk.