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WHEN CULTURE MATTERS YOU CAN TELL

JOURNAL

The global brand of a young and adventurous lifestyle, with a complete line of clothing and accessories.

WHEN CULTURE MATTERS YOU CAN TELL

Josh Schmitz

Lets talk about one of the biggest company buzzwords over the past 5 years. “Company Culture”. Organizations literally pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for advisors to come in and teach company culture. It seems as though every business seminar you attend, book you read, CEO you hear about, "company culture" is everywhere.

The problem though, is more often than not, companies and organizations alike, will read / see / hear something regarding a "company culture" that has worked for someone else, and like clock-work they try to implement it within their spheres, and, like clock-work it crashes and burns.

Why? 
Its simple:
CULTURE IS NOT A BI-PRODUCT OF TRENDS. CULTURE IS WHO YOU ARE.

There is this AMAZING video that went viral of a Maori Wedding in which the Groomsmen and wedding party perform an extremely emotional Haka at the ceremony:

How many of you guys are crying? Tearing up? Have some type of unexplainable gutteral feeling deep down in your soul from watching this video?

That is culture at work. You can tell this dance actually MEANS something to them. They dont care that the cameras are on. They dont think this video will go viral. They dont care about anything other than the dance, because THE DANCE is what means something, nothing else. 

Maori culture performs different war dances as a sign of respect and blessing for the situation at hand. Wether it is a funeral, wedding, war, or before a rugby game. Its calling to the ancestors who came before them for help and respect, it is the brute essence of culture at work.

Now, on the flip side, here is why I hate this video: it's undoubtedly going to lead hundreds and hundredsssss of couples to try and imitate / duplicate / replicate this at their own weddings.

Merely based on the fact of “oh man, that was so cool, I want to do that at my wedding”.

Meaning people with absolutely no understanding of the culture or meaning behind this dance, are going to try to learn and rehearse it, turning into merely a performance for claps. 

The exact same is true for company culture.

You see, a company comes to life and has an amazing culture, looking from the outside its emotional, it's something flowing within them, their work is performed with more meaning and depth than could ever be explained. But then others (outside the culture) see it, think its sexy, take it and and try to imitate it, turning it into a performance for claps, hoping for the same results without any of the understanding of where it comes from.

You say you want a company culture that “gives back”, yet you as a company give nothing to charitable causes or even show up to your own town hall meetings?

You say you want an empowering leadership structure because its sexy, but at the same time limit Millennial employees access to freedom and decision making?

You say you want to help the homeless but you cant remember when the last time was you actually volunteered?

CULTURE CANNOT BE TAUGHT, IT HAS TO BE LIVED.

You see - Warrior culture works because inside of their community they are ACTUALLY warriors. A culture of giving back works because the people in their community are ACTUALLY sacrificing their own comfort and giving back. Winning culture works because from top to bottom in their community they all actually HATE to lose.

How many times has the church tried to hop on the culture train without understanding and ACTUALLY living the culture they are trying to portray? How many of you feel robbed of experience and trust when you walk into a community that preaches something that they don't actually live out?

CULTURE CANNOT BE TAUGHT BECAUSE THERE IS NOTHING TO TEACH. IT IS SIMPLY THE CORE AND ROOT OF WHO YOU ACTUALLY ARE.

So in your company (or your family), when you look at the culture that surrounds it – you need to understand it cannot be changed by printing your vision statement and putting it in the office. It cannot be passed down through memos and lectures. It has to be lived. 

AND DON’T DO IT FOR THE INSTAGRAM PHOTO.

At Bellwether, we give out free haircuts to the homeless all day every day – no questions asked, Have we ever publicized that? Do we take and post and tag instagram pictures of that? No!!

Why? Because its just what we do. Its who we are. End of Story.

At Bellwether, we host a service Sunday once a month with no agenda other than serving our community at the base level. Literally shoveling snow off sidewalks, raking the leaves of our closest 100 neighbors, doing food drives, etc.  

Why? Because its just what we do. Its who we are. End of Story.

I could list hundreds of daily decisions that are made within our organizations every day that impact and are an overflow of our culture. I didn’t learn it at a seminar. I didn’t read it in a book. It's not a 12 step culture program to try and manipulate others to think we are awesome.

It's just what we do. Its who we are. End of Story.

COMPANY CULTURE IS THE SUM OR YOUR EMPLOYEES HEARTS.
Take care of that – and the rest will start to take care of itself.

So in closing (AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD), do not imitate someone else’s culture simply because you think its cool. It will leave you looking like idiots, trying to do the Haka at a wedding with no understanding of the culture behind it. And your results will be an empty shell of what it could have been if you just stuck to YOUR OWN story.

Josh.
Questions / Comments / Hate / Concerns - Holler@ruckusapparel.com
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