What to Do When it’s Cold Inside

Like fire, an untended culture grows cold, dark, ugly, and useless.

When you look in the organizational-mirror, do you like what you see? You can.

camp fire


A regional medical facilities mission statement begins, “To extend God’s healing love…” It’s impossible to extend love to outsiders (patients) unless insiders are extending love to each other. I’d love to be part of an organization where the people aspire to love each other. Wouldn’t you?

Culture is the product of the way people treat each other with organizational purpose in mind.


Culture emerges from inside people, not furniture or fresh paint. An unused ping-pong table in the break room reminds everyone that fun is not allowed.

  1. Purpose fuels culture.
  2. Purpose guides culture.
  3. Behaviors express and create culture.

Culture-building-behaviors are:

  1. Fully aligned with organizational purpose.
  2. Clearly observable. If you can’t see it, it doesn’t matter.
  3. Profoundly simple. If it’s complicated or difficult, it won’t get done.
  4. Cheerfully honored by everyone.

Clarify organizational purpose – your “why” – and build culture around it.

Culture building brings your “why” inside your organization. For example:

  1. Educational institution, in order to be consistent, must treat employees like students. When they want students to work hard and have fun, but don’t have fun themselves, culture disconnects from purpose.
  2. Churches, who extend grace to the world, must extend grace to each other.
  3. Financial institutions, who build trustworthy relationships with customers and distrust employees, grow cold, eventually.
  4. Social service organizations who put on smiles for clients and frowns for each other  grow dark and useless.


Culture building is identifying language and behaviors that express your purpose and repeating them over and over within your organization.

How are hot organizational cultures built and maintained?


Start with Why,” Simon Sinek

The Culture Engine,” Chris Edmonds

Culture,” Dr. David Vik