There is no single culture. 

“A company does not have on culture, it has as many cultures as it does teams.”

A brilliantly insightful and true observation from career expert, Marcus Buckingham, and something I’ve been ruminating on for a week or so now, ever since listening to the Diary of a CEO Podcast, during which host Steven Bartlett interviews Marcus on finding the ultimate fulfilment at work. 

The full episode is well worth a listen, but as I have daily conversations with leaders about cultivating and creating a great culture – this topic feels especially important. 

Within any organisation – regardless of pay, benefits packages, pool tables, cool break out spaces  and the hundreds of other things that might set you apart – there is a range of how your culture will be received by teams, and this range is dictated almost entirely by how your employees regard their manager. 

I’m sure if you give yourself a moment you’ll find yourself nodding in agreement. We’ve all been in an office whereby one team is highly engaged; they know what they’re doing – they feel supported and appreciated as an individual. They are probably the most profitable team in the business. Their team culture is incredible. They would follow their manager anywhere. 

Next door, perhaps even on the next desk – there’s a team who are utterly disengaged. They are miserable, and whilst their pay and benefits might be the same as their highly engaged compatriots – their view of your company culture couldn’t be more different. And no amount of free beers in the fridge on a Friday will stop them from leaving. The single defining factor in all this? Yep, their manager. 

As a leader, this is a realisation that can be huge. Especially when it comes to hiring and promoting mangers of teams. 

So, when you talk about a creating ‘a company culture’, be aware that what you actually need to do is make sure you’re cultivating lots of micro team cultures – the combination of which will dictate how your overarching culture is defined. 

Hire and train great managers, and your culture will almost entirely build itself. 



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If you have something on your mind, a challenge you’re wrestling with or just want an alternative point of view, I’d be very happy to lend an ear and maybe help you start to unpick the issues.