After a nice three day weekend, I'd like to ask a quick question. If you've had a job you really enjoyed, what was it about that position that made it so attractive? Many of us would rather not have a 9-5 commitment to an office, so what made that position memorable?

For most people, I believe the answer would be culture. The culture of a workplace can be a fantastic asset, or a liability. It can drive you to go home and dream about early retirement. It can also drive you to put in an extra hour at work on a Friday night because you had something you really wanted to finish with the team.

Culture is not strictly leadership principles or mission statements. I don't think you can document the culture of a company. Culture is the set of behaviors your workplace rewards, and which it punishes. Which things lead to promotion and raises, and which things lead to being walked out the door.

Rewards and Punishment

Manager Fred - "I know John is a jerk, but he gets so much done. Everyone just needs to learn how to work with him."

When Fred verbally says that we should ignore poor behavior, he's condoning it. When we excuse or accept bad behavior, we are accepting it into our workplace. When we trade competence for rudeness, we implicitly say that we value ability to complete tasks over being a polite co-worker.

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