Good point that culture is more than just talk, it's what is publicly rewarded: "Compensation helps very little when it comes to aligning culture, because it’s private. Public rewards are much more influential. Who gets promoted, or hangs out socially with the founders? Who gets the plum project, or a shout-out at the company all-hands? ... What makes people successful here? ... These are powerful signals to our teammates, and they’re imprinting on every bit of it. When all the “successful” people behave in the same way, culture is made ... People stop taking values seriously when the public rewards (and consequences) don’t match up."
This is a very well-distilled explanation of an important point: the culture of a company (or of a group of friends, or of a city, or of a country) isn't captured by asking people what the culture is, but by asking "what do you need to know to get ahead."

That's not meant as a motivational statement: it's meant as a tool for understanding your group. The things which actually get someone ahead or hold them back, things which can be very ugly to look at sometimes, are the things which the society rewards and punishes. And as anyone who's ever run a team knows, you get what you incentivize; your incentives are your culture, and when they don't align with your high-flown statements, that just means that your statements are wrong.

The exercise the author presents at the end is quite a valuable one.
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