Here is what I have come to learn about culture. The environment dictates behavior. It is the key to execution and lasting results.

Plenty has been written about having your organization, department, division, etc. as one big happy family, but have only two words for that statement: Be careful.

Yes, we want a positive, upbeat environment; that is true. Care needs to be taken so that it doesn’t lead to entitlement.

In families, we tend to be too forgiving, with no judgment (can’t pick your relatives), and everyone is accepted and benefits strictly because they belong (they’re
family) after all. You can’t fire a family member. I believe family membership is the epitome of entitlement; it is assumed and not earned.

It is not my intention to get political here. But everyone is not getting a trophy in a culture of merit.

Our job as leaders is not to make them happy. Our job is to lead them to get
better. Guess what? When they are better, they get more comfortable. We do that with
performance standards, a cadence of accountability (“You will be
uncomfortable around here if you are not performing.”)

Building, protecting, and reinforcing a merit-based culture takes time and the leader’s constant attention. It is worth it.