Beyond the Build

Continuing Education

Balancing Culture and Climate

My FMI buddies always say that culture eats strategy for breakfast. I recently attended a workshop where the topic of corporate culture was addressed and compared to corporate climate, a subject that is perhaps equally important. Here’s the short version on both, a mash up of what was said that day and what I have learned from experience.

Corporate culture is learned. It’s a shared set of values that make up your identity as a company. A team’s approach to innovation, quality and competitiveness might be a part of this.

Corporate climate is intuitive. It’s the way you feel when you walk into an office and all about the experience. It’s the general mood. It’s hard to put your finger on, but the vibes are there. You can sniff out a negative climate in an instant.

If an organization is not in tune with corporate climate, it can change in a hurry. This can mean losing productivity, clients, and worst of all, the most important assets to any organization, team members. Putting culture and climate on a scale, I would suggest they are in balance equally for success. Sure, you might have neither and still have some wins, but if corporate culture and climate are nurtured, I have learned they will take you to a place you might have never visited otherwise.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.