Culture by Design

A business diagram on white paper with blue gears labelled "strategy," "goals" and "hiring."

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By Brian Alexander, Two-Brain Business mentor

Building and maintaining a culture is challenging. The more people in the fold, the more difficult the task becomes.

Here is what I have learned from three years of building my own culture and how I almost let a few people destroy it.


Don’t Settle for Good Enough


When building a culture, make sure you focus on quality. Be relentless in your search for people who represent the culture you are trying to build. Be very selective in whom you hire. Hire people who represent your culture’s values. If you made a bad hire, fix it immediately. Don’t be afraid of the tough conversation today because I promise you the conversation and problems only get bigger as time goes on.  

A Few Bad Apples Can Spoil the Bunch


Negativity spreads like wildfire. It can turn rational/intelligent people irrational very quickly if you don’t catch it before it is too late. If someone doesn’t fit the culture and is negatively impacting people around him or her, do yourself a favor and amicably part ways immediately. Again, be relentless in your vision for the culture you wish to build.

“If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything” —Irene Dunne


Reward Good Behavior, Ignore Behavior You Don’t Want


Spend the most time with the people who add value to your life and add value to your culture. These are the people who will help spread the vibes of your culture far beyond the walls of the organization. It’s a mistake to try to make concessions for the one or two people who aren’t a good fit for your culture. People who are meant to be there will mold to your culture; don’t mold your culture to people because it might look like something far different than what you wanted in the first place.

In the end it, all comes down to good communication and timely action.  

Check out this Ted Talk by Jay Wilkinson:

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Other Articles in This Series

How to Measure (and Improve) Your Culture

Culture Starts at the Top

Staff Culture and “Who Luck”

What’s More Important Than Culture?



One more thing!

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