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Les McKeown's Predictable Success Blog

First published September 23, 2011

Do you really have a culture, or just a little yappy dog? 

It’s great to have a vibrant, positive corporate culture, right? Something to keep everyone on the right track, aligned – a touchstone for everyone’s actions, beliefs, decisions.Well, not always. Specifically not if the culture is treated like it was a Faberge Egg: precious, delicate, fragile to the point that we must protect it at all costs – protect it even from the realities of business life.

That way lies distortion, delusion, believing our own PR. And ultimately, irrelevancy, as the gap between what we tell ourselves and what is actually happening with our staff, customers and clients becomes so big that we lose our moorings from reality.

Your business’s culture should be like a rubber ball – vibrant, flexible, robust, resilient – able to take a pounding and still snap back.

Is it? Or is it precious and demanding – and ultimately brittle and broken?

I’m grateful for Dean Nitin Nohria of Harvard Business School for the original metaphor.

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