Culture is King | By Chris Carneal, Boosterthon

I believe culture is king! Posted high on a central wall in our Home Office is Peter Drucker’s famous quote, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

When someone walks into your work environment, culture is the emotional energy they feel—it’s the temperature in the room. It’s the DNA of your organization.

I’m often asked how I have been able to build a strong culture at Boosterthon. I always tell people that culture begins at the top, and you and your leadership team have to be intentional from the very beginning, and at every moment. Culture never sleeps.

At first, the Founder is the culture: Whether you like it or not, culture is born through the personality of the Founder. How the leader interacts with and addresses the organization sets the cultural foundation. If you’re making a cultural promise — “we have a culture of enthusiasm” — it must be fulfilled through hundreds of small interactions between you and your team. You must live it — daily!

Create culture: Throughout the year, make big cultural statements by designing experiences that shout your culture loud and clear to everyone. If someone peered in from the outside during one of these events, how would you want them to describe it? Then create an event that is centered on those words.

Hire with culture in mind: When your culture begins to have an identity, pass it off to your team to multiply. That’s why you should always hire people who will add to and reproduce your culture. Ultimately, your team members will be your thermostats, setting the temperature for their teams. Leaders multiply culture.

Lead by example and pass the torch: As the Founder and CEO, I’m setting the cultural direction, tone and fun, but my leaders often determine the creative ways to get there. And it’s extremely fun to watch them craft and lead in their own unique and personalized ways. This St. Patrick’s Day, I was running around with our Home Office Team popping 1,000 green balloons, trying to find one with a gold coin in it. It was outrageous and fun. And it wasn’t my idea. It was someone else’s. They get our culture of fun.

Not happy with your current culture? Eventually, culture can grow into the size of an ocean liner, and it takes time to turn around if it’s going in the wrong direction, but it’s not impossible. The leader can only change the culture if they change themselves first.

So, how do you want the cultural temperature to feel in your organization?

Go make it happen!

- Chris Carneal, Founder and CEO of Boosterthon