Culture and its Role in Business

The culture of a business can be a very powerful influence that impacts a company’s morale, revenue, productivity and innovation.


According to culture is: “a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization” (such as a business). The culture of our business or individual departments is how we act as a group.  For example, when you think about your company’s culture are the individuals supportive and willing to help others overcome mistakes?  Or do are they competitive, jealous and have a tendency to tear them down when something goes wrong?  A businesses culture can be a great motivator, or it can belittle and degrade, causing contention in the workplace.  So how does your culture rate?


Lessons From The Fortune 500

Many fortune 500 companies know how powerful a positive culture can be. Companies such as Disney, Facebook, Apple and others use culture to help their employees, who come from many different backgrounds and cultures, to effectively work together. Disney has resorts and cruise liners in the United States, Hong Kong, Paris, and many other locations. Each place is unique but they all have a common goal of providing a world class Disney experience. When new employees are hired and go through training one of the things they are taught is they are always “On Stage”. This is obviously a reference to performers being “on stage’ and giving 100 percent effort. This rule applies not only to the performers, but all employees that work at Disney. As soon as the employee gets to work they are to give 100 percent effort in everything they do. This means everyone, whether it is your assigned area or not, when you see a customer that needs help, you are now part of customer relations. Disney’s culture is part of the glue that holds the company together and makes it such a successful business.


Are You A Crab?

Not all businesses will have the same culture, but there are lessons that can be learned from Disney’s example. Your company already has a culture whether you as a manager have consciously seen it as a culture or simply as how things tend to work. Your job as a manager is to support the elements of your culture that help the company to work more effectively, and to change elements that may be harmful to your company. If your culture has a tendency to support a grouchy or negative mentality, it could be causing a lot of damage to the effectiveness of your company. It may seem like harmless fun, or typical annoying complaints, but these negative outlooks can become a big problem over time.  This type of negative mentality has a special name.  We call it a “Crab Mentality”.
The culture of crab mentality
A crab mentality is an attitude that says, “If I can’t have it, then neither should you”. Some species of crab when caught and put in an open container with other crabs will pull each other back into the container rather than letting each other escape. When one tries to climb out the others will actually pull him back into the bucket.  That is why you usually don’t see a lid on a crab bucket.  This type of mentality in business could manifest itself through a department culture that “tells” one or two members of the team to not work so hard because “nothing ever changes around here anyway”, or to not give 100% effort because “it makes the rest of the team look bad”. It could also be people who are unhappy with their personal life, or they are unhappy with how the company is handling something. These unhappy (“crabby”) people may “pull down” those with positive attitudes due to their “If-I-can’t-have-it,-then-neither-should-you” mentality. There are endless ways people can be unhappy or unproductive.  However, the most dangerous aspect about the crab mentality is if it is left unchecked and it spreads, these attitudes will start to become an ingrained part of the culture of the company.


Change Your Culture

As a manager you must set an example.  You must set the standard for those that work under you. If there is something negative in your company, or department’s culture, don’t wait for it to go away.  You must do something differently and work to change that negative culture.  A great book that we highly recommend for accomplishing this purpose is the book titled “Influencer” written by Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler.  As a manager you are responsible for helping new employees learn their duties and become good employees. This is very difficult when the culture is not supportive of those principles. You must also help individuals who have been with the company for a while, and who struggled with making a cultural change to adapt and accept the changes.


The culture of a company has a large impact on how effective it is as a whole.  When you focus on creating a culture that supports employees as they make and learn from their mistakes, they will grow quickly and use their efforts to support others. This is the best culture and learning environment a company can create. As you improve your company’s culture there will be an increase in morale and a sense of unity that will help your company improve.


The Next Level

Culture is only one of many important things a business can change to see improvements in their morale, productivity, revenue and other things.  Contact Hansen Group Company today by visiting or by calling 208-346-1005 to learn other ways to help take your company to the next level.