“Culture develops in a company when decisions that are made prove to be successful and the thinking that went into those decisions becomes embedded into the way we do things around here.”

This snippet from my guest’s most recent book really struck a chord for me because it’s not just about the decision to make cultivating company culture a core goal but what happens after it.

That’s exactly what this episode is about and it concerns you, no matter where you work and what you do.

So let’s briefly unpack this.

“The way we do things around here” reminds me of one of my guiding principles, which comes from Seth Godin’s altMBA: people like us do things like this.

I have this on my LinkedIn profile because it captures a few essential ideas about who I am and how I want to live (not just work!):

  • “People like us” – people with a clear set of values (quality, honesty, generosity, transparency, thoughtfulness, etc.)
  • “Do things like this” – do things that have a certain quality standard which they cultivate through a specific way that puts those values at work.

Seven simple words that pack a lot of power!

Why is this so important?

Because where and how we work shapes who we become. It can amplify our best abilities and support our growth at an incredible speed. Or it can frustrate us to the point of burnout and losing all motivation. I’ve experienced both and I’m a strong believer that company culture matters. A lot!

And here’s the painful issue Brett uncovers:

“My data shows me that 9 out of 10 companies do not know how to really embed culture, their values, their mission, and their vision, and then manage it over time.”

That means 9 out of 10 companies list values as a point-in-time exercise with no real follow-through and no impact. Nice out of ten companies misses incredible opportunities to build better teams, better products, better marketing, and make a better contribution to their communities.

I’ve seen how this looks in real life. Maybe you have too. It’s demoralizing, especially to me because I want to work with companies who believe in a lot more than making a profit.

My entire conversation with Brett was an exercise in broadening my vocabulary and understanding of company culture. It was clarifying and invigorating to get proof that a healthy culture is not just an idealistic goal, but an achievable and essential one for both our individual lives and our wellbeing as a society.

Brett’s expertise is like an iceberg – you can see some of it with the naked eye but there’s a whole lot more to discover in terms of real-life impact! I hope our conversation helps you see that by taking what you learn and applying it in your own context.

About Brett Putter:

Bretton Putter is an expert on building culture in high-growth companies and also a clear-eyed judge of his own values. He makes decisions based on his beliefs and chooses to work with clients he aligns with. This is one of the many choices he made to achieve a stronger balance between work and leading a healthy life.

Brett ran an executive search firm for 16 years and worked with high growth, early-stage companies to scale their C-level or VP-level teams between Europe and the US, and vice versa. That put him right at the center of the decision that can make or break a company: selecting the right leaders to take it forward, not just in terms of financial growth, but especially in terms of cultural development.

As the author of two incredibly helpful books –
“Culture Decks Decoded: Transform Your Culture Into a Visible, Conscious and Tangible Asset”
and ”Own Your Culture: How to Define, Embed, and Manage your Company Culture” – he openly shares the results of his research, direct experience, and deep inquiry into how companies can design and cultivate a robust culture that enables them to thrive.

I strongly believe every CEO should read his books. The practical techniques Brett shares make embedding a healthy culture into an organization a very achievable goal.

As Founder & CEO of CultureGene, a platform for culture development and culture leadership – Brett practices what he preaches. And you can see and experience that in every resource the CultureGene team creates.

Most importantly, Brett informs his own decisions by keenly observing how the world is changing and drawing essential knowledge that keeps him practicing his values and helping others do the same for themselves, in their own companies.

Listen to this episode to learn more about why company culture is instrumental, no matter your role, plus his great advice for young people trying to carve out a space for themselves in the workplace.

Listen to this episode to learn:

  • How the company you work in influences your choices.
  • Why working for a company whose values don’t match your own creates internal conflict and depletes you of energy and motivation.
  • How the pandemic is transforming not just how we work but our relationship with work entirely.
  • Six ways to embed a great company culture into your organization.
  • Why Netflix’s culture deck stands out – and why it’s not for everyone.
  • How to recruit the best people for your business and how to be recruited for your dream job.
  • Why our work environment shapes our decision-making style and also our outlook on life.
  • How to recognize the true signals of healthy company culture.

A few ideas that stuck with me:

  • “Leaders who didn’t invest in their culture pre-pandemic are finding this transition [to remote or hybrid work] a lot harder.”
  • 9 out of 10 companies don’t know how to embed their culture, values, mission, and vision into how the company works.
  • “Culture is the glue that keeps the team running in the same direction”
  • Young people should write down their personal values and find a job that matches them – even though there may be a lot of trial and error involved at first.
  • An undefined culture leads to financial issues, team problems, and poor performance.
  • Playing a role at your job – one that doesn’t align with you as a person – causes too much anxiety and negativity to handle. It’s essential to bring your whole self to work.

Connect with Brett:

Resources mentioned in the episode:

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