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What Company Culture IS and IS NOT

I read a frustrating article on Bloomberg/Businessweek this past week on company culture, and felt compelled to write a response sharing my own thoughts on what culture really means (and doesn't):
Wisnu O. P. S.'s profile photoShelley Zurek's profile photoNP Srivastava's profile photoRand Fishkin's profile photo
here in India, there is a new weapon in the hands of the employers they call it the legal bond, where you are hired under a contract of 1 year or 2 years and if you try to leave the company before that  you have to pay a huge amount to them as a penality
Good article Rand. Although all this stuff makes me glad I work for myself. SEOmoz might be the exception! 
+Rand Fishkin weren't you suffering of writer's block? Because this post your wrote and shared is sooo good that you should have that block more often :)
Years ago, I went to a job interview where the interviewer chose to take 'cultural fit' way too literally. Asked illegal q's about my religious beliefs, where my parents were from and what I do over the holidays and if I had marriage plans. I Needless to say, I cut the interview short. 
It's a tricky topic. I think it comes down to how different organizations define culture. 

Is it wrong that you don't hire a candidate because the team he's supposed to work in wouldn't like that person? In my opinion, it's not wrong. Team has to function and be happy at work. Having someone who doesn't fit into team's style of communication or doesn't appreciate the same type of humor can be devastating for the moral and happiness of that team. 

Defining the culture of a company can be really hard and maybe impossible once the company is big because different departments or teams within the company could have developed different cultures

This is why we allow team leaders to have the final word when it comes to hiring a person into their team, no questions asked. If  person doesn't fit in, it doesn't fit in.
I agree that communication and shared values can be an important part of company culture.  I just hired someone so I will be thinking about how to integrate them and this article is a useful start.
Great article, rand. And this one shows that Drucker was right once again. Btw, I am wondering, is Jim Collins well known in Online Industries in U.S.?
I really enjoyed this article, Rand. I've worked in many companies who aren't even aware that they have a culture. Those were inevitably the ones who mistook "casual Fridays", and themes days   for getting one.
The more "social" businesses get, the more they will need to define and enrich their culture.
I think a lot of culture filters down from the founders / owners / MDs (in small companies) it also can change as companies expand and obviously evolves as employees leave and arrive. It's an interesting one, and I am sure a lot of people try to force the 'culture' to be cool. 
+Rebecca Caldwell I'm sorry to hear that happened - it's awful when culture gets misinterpreted and bastardized like that.

+Wisnu O. P. S. Yes, Jim Collins and Good to Great/Built to Last are very well known and read in the tech startup world.
Totally agree with +Keith Horwood. The culture tends to filter down from the owners. I own a web design & marketing agency and one of our core values is happiness. There are so many agencies out there that seem to have the mentality of using a person up and then finding a replacement. I love to think about creating an environment where people can be happy long-term. Fulfilled, happy people = good work and happy clients.  
I was kicking ass and driving traffic when I was pulled in to the conference room. They said they were letting me go because I wasn't a cultural fit.
I started my career before Cultural FIt became a buzz word or a defined entity.  While we didn't have an "environment" per se, we did have challenging work, awesome benefits and high pay.  From there I a made my job environment what I wanted it to be...I brought the Sunshine to speak.  I too am responsible for my own cultural fit...some places have so little corporate cultural that it is easy to create your own as a manager..Do you think +Rand Fishkin ?
I really like how you think and write eloquently. 
In some countries it is legal to hire employees based on cultural fit, so it is common. In Japan, for example, it is the first recruiting screen.
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