Engineering Culture in the New World

by Jason Ogden | Mar 1, 2022

Stop stalling. If you’re still holding out for “going back to the way it was,” you’re missing the point. Like most other things in business, culture either happens by design or by default. If you are going to design the culture you want, you have to have clarity on what that means to you, your team and your customers. If 2021 marks the end of the return to normal illusion, 2022 is the beginning of the new normal and you need to make decisions in that direction. Stop stalling.  

It’s been 7 full quarters since the pandemic started. During that time, business leaders have been forced to operate on a series of short-term horizons as teams go partially or fully remote. One topic that has been punted as a result is “what does culture look like” going forward? 

It doesn’t take much time on LinkedIn to see the topic of “go-forward culture” come up in your feed. Typical threads represent a few common themes: 

  1. Leaders are stalling to make decisions.
  2. What culture means is very different from leader to leader. 
  3. What do I do to make cohesive decisions to engineer the right culture for my business?

It’s points 2 & 3 where the internal aspects of your brand strategy come into play. This is nothing new but there is a heightened awareness of how important this foundational work is to engineering culture. Business leaders who didn’t do this work in the past believed that simply being in person and having daily personal interactions was all that was required to drive culture. This belief is false and likely resulted in culture by default, not design. 

The internal application of your brand strategy consists of a few universal attributes including:

  •  Mission
  • Vision
  • Values 
  • Golden Circle
  • Hedgehog Concept 

Without having clarity around these foundational areas, cohesive culture will prove nearly impossible to engineer. I think we can agree that the time together we do get is all the more important now and in the future. But what about all that newfound remote time? What’s going on then? It’s here where companies will win or lose culturally going forward.  

As a leader, you must create a place where people want to work. 

This will help you retain the team that you have now and plays a big factor in attracting new talent. There’s simply too much transparency into company culture and what it’s like to work there due to things like Glassdoor and social media to leave this to chance. Business leaders need to put a greater emphasis on building culture the right way for their company now more than ever before, and to do so, you must be crystal clear on your brand strategy.  

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 by Jason Ogden

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