Episode 141.5 – Green Apple Slice


Why Culture Doesn’t Just Happen



The Green Apple Podcast does weekly “Green Apple Slices”, where John Garrett and Rachel Fisch discuss a recent business article related to the Green Apple Message. These shorter segments are released each Monday, so don’t miss an episode by subscribing on iTunes or an Android app.

This week, John and Rachel discuss a Think Growth article, “Why Culture Doesn’t Just Happen” by Katie Burke.


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    Good morning. It’s John Garrett with another episode of Green Apple Slices. I’m excited to bring in the cohost partner in crime, the brains behind all these madness, the accountant’s group leader for Sage in Canada, Rachel Fisch.

    Rachel: Hey, John. How are you doing?

    John: Great. There you go, no pressure. You’re the brains.

    Rachel: Yeah.

    John: Every Monday, we always get together and talk through an article about culture or engagement or things like that. This one I thought was really great, really great. It was on thinkgrowth.org an article by Katie Burke who’s the Chief People Officer at HubSpot. The article is Why Culture Doesn’t Just Happen.

    Rachel: I think I love Katie Burke. I absolutely love this article. In fact, I think that the title doesn’t do it justice, because we see it so often. Why and how you need to plan and all of these other stuff. I felt that this article was the most thorough and well-crafted explanation of what positive culture or successful culture in organizations looks like including all of the elements that culture needs to be available to. You’d be able to touch, be able to — basically, it’s not a policy that’s get written by HR. It’s not a poster on your wall, it’s not a foosball table. It is woven in every function throughout the entire organization from top to bottom.

    John: Right.

    Rachel: It was fantastic. What do you think?

    John: Yeah. I thought it was really great as well. I just loved how, it just talks about how your most talented people attracting and retaining top talent. That’s your number one goal. That’s it. If you have really good people, then good things happen. It’s that simple.

    Rachel: Right and it wasn’t just — and we’ve talked about that before, retaining versus recruiting and how you can incorporate positive culture elements to those things. But she was taking it even further saying, what is it about your organization that allows these people to thrive or what characteristics do these people have that if we had more of that as an organization, more of the organization would thrive. And so, it’s really analyzing that as well which I think also opens up conversations around successful lines. You hire somebody for one job, but a colleague of mine had said, when you’re interviewing somebody, you don’t just hire them for that job, you think — now, where would they be in two years and five years and not the, what do you want to be doing in five years question. But within my organization, how can I enable this really talented person who I want on my team, how can I enable them to grow?

    John: I agree wholeheartedly. I love how she says, just decide what you stand for and write it down. Because when it’s written, then it’s clear to everyone. When you’re new, you can get the paper and this is what we stand for, this is what our culture is. It has to be aligned up and down in the hierarchies.

    Rachel: Exactly. I love that many executives I talked to say we don’t need to write it down like you guys do as that’s like a negative thing, Just talk to our employees they know what’s about and she is basically saying, “Okay. Yes, I’ll do that. And I will guarantee that what your employees say your culture is, is not what you say your culture is.”

    John: Right, totally. You can even see at a larger firms, larger organizations. There’s a tone at the top that’s maybe different than what’s happening down at the bottom.

    Rachel: Absolutely.

    John: Somewhere in the middle, there is the telephone games getting mixed up. But yeah, I thought it was great with a lot of really great examples of what to do and how to measure it. She even says, most companies do employ engagement surveys. I personally find most of those to be long and tedious.

    Rachel: She’s on our no survey bus.

    John: Right. Exactly, exactly. There’s three of us. But yeah, I thought it was really great and really cool just to not be afraid to take a stand for this is who we are and this is what we do. If it doesn’t fit everybody, well, then that’s fine because if you’re trying to fit everybody, then you’re going to really fit nobody. Because then people are going to leave because they don’t have any sticky — it’s not sticky to them to want to stay.

    Rachel: Yeah. I was just going to say that the part about trying to be all things, all people. Not only did she gives them really excellent tips about how culture needs to invade your entire organization, but also at which point there do need to be boundaries like not trying to be all things to all people. That will also create positive culture because I think when you do try to be too many things to too many people, you’re not doing any of those things well.

    John: Right.

    Rachel: But if you can kind of craft that identity and this is who we are, this is we believe in, these are the clients we work for, these are the people we have on stuff and really craft and identify that well. Then I think the people who fit into all of that, just do that much better.

    John: Yeah, absolutely. That’s exactly it. Yeah, if anybody listening would like to read the full article, it’s really fantastic and there aren’t any videos or infographics but Rachel still read the whole thing.

    Rachel: Actually, there’s a bonus embedded right within. The article is basically what they built at HubSpot. The co-founder Dharmesh Shah wrote the culture code, which is actually available and embedded right within the — I read that too.

    John: Nice.

    Rachel: So there.

    John: Everyone, you can check it out greenapplepodcast.com. There’s a link from there and follow us on Twitter and also hit subscribe so you don’t miss any other future episodes and hear me try to get Rachel’s title right every week. But yeah, I’m off to Texas, San Antonio for the Texas State Society of CPA’s member meeting. We’re going to have some fun there Friday night. So there we go. Everybody, have a great week and enjoy your time at home, Rachel.

    Rachel: Thanks.

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