Culture Vs. Performance Environment: Let's Get Real


Ok let’s be honest, how many of you work for, or in the past have worked for, an organization that defines their organizational “culture” by mission, vision, and values statements that are often prominently displayed on lobby and conference room walls and reside on corporate website home pages that tout descriptors like bold, innovative, “one team”, transparent, learning, “customer first”, passionate, and hundreds of other possible words or statements? But when you ask an employee if this is the real work environment, if their organization truly embodies these traits, their eyes roll and respond with statements like, “Yeah right.”, “Are you kidding me?”, and “Those are just words hanging on a wall.” This is when you begin to see very quickly that the actual performance environment eats culture for lunch!

So between us, let’s get real. Just recently we conducted this exercise for a client. We asked, “What is the stated culture of the organization?” and this was the list:

  • Innovative
  • We are One
  • Bold
  • Transparent
  • Responsible
  • Agile

All sound great and anyone would love to work in that culture. But then it got real. We then asked, “What is the performance environment people encounter each day when they come into work”?  Here is that list:

  • Status Quo
  • Siloed
  • Paralyzed
  • Knowledge is power, so keep it
  • Blame and justification rules
  • Slow to make decisions

And senior leadership wonders why employee engagement is low to non-existent, results are marginal at best, and involuntary turnover is double digits...

I will say it again, performance environment eats culture for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Over the next 3 weeks we are going to explore ways and highlight examples of organizations that have aligned their culture and performance environment, where employee engagement is strong, results are top tier and sustained, and where people work with purpose and passion and coming to work is both a privilege and pleasure to them.

Come back next week for our first look at these organizations!


For more information on how to more actively engage in your organization join our DESTINATION: SUCCESS page, or contact us!


Cornerstone Learning is a performance and leadership consulting organization that has worked with clients all over the world. Our focus is working with individuals and organizations to create performance solutions that deliver top-tier results by inspiring, enabling, and developing employee-led, leader supported, and organization enabled performance. We are able to successfully deliver this through multiple products and services such as employee surveysonline training, performance assessments, and performance coaching. The goal at Cornerstone Learning is to assist our clients in enabling success by developing a dynamic and customized pathway to deliver role model organizational and personal performance.