The greatest decentralization of culture ever is now upon us

Workplace culture: Do we know what it means yet? Sure, the mission, vision and values on the boardroom wall might be an indicator of what we stand for. But then again, maybe not. And when was the last time we were in the boardroom anyway? The past few months have taught us that culture doesn’t just live within the logo of the company, or even at the office; it lives in each one of our teams and how we interact and treat those we work with every day.

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This suggests that, instead of micro-cultures, that culture lives at the team level. It has to. If culture is the conscious and subconscious rules, norms and behaviors we follow, how we interact and work together from team to team must vary.

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Going back to Amazon, it would make sense that the culture of the distribution center has a different set of rules and norms than the head office. It would make sense that the accounting team has different rules and norms than IT. It would make sense that someone working for Amazon would live a different life than someone in Nashville; they’d have to.

This doesn’t mean that all teams don’t aspire to accomplish the same mission for the company, share similar values and love the company any more or less. It just means the way we do our work and how we interact with each other is, well, different.

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Culture is so much more than a mission, vision and value set; it is how we do our work with the people we share our time with. Given that we’re building tomorrow’s best places to work, it is imperative to know that, as a team, we are more responsible for our culture and how we do our work than we’ve ever been before. This, if nothing else, is here to stay.

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