Creating a cohesive Culture: It starts with your values

"If you get the culture right, most of the other stuff will take care of itself"
Tony Hsieh CEO of Zappos.com

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Zappos is a company that has transformed it's culture and customer service. They are grounded firmly in their 10 values of:

  • Deliver WOW Through Service
  • Embrace and Drive Change
  • Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
  • Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
  • Pursue Growth and Learning
  • Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
  • Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
  • Do More With Less
  • Be Passionate and Determined
  • Be Humble


To ensure these remain alive, they have various incentives and processes such as a Zappo's Family Library where people are able to access a comprehensive online library free of charge. They also provide this to their customers. They also have a Zappo's culture blog that highlights some of the things the Zappo's family have been doing, as well as inspirational stories from their clients, or other businesses. 

All this is based on the company's values. When there is collective understanding and agreement of the values and they are nurtured every day, a dynamic culture such as the one at Zappo's is created. 

If however, you have a culture that reeks of fear, apathy, blame, under-handed behaviour, underperformance or a lack of collaboration, then you need to address it - and fast!

One place to begin is to link with your organisational values. Re-visit these with your team/staff and unpack what they mean and what they look-like in action. 

From there you can build collective understanding and agreement. Next collaboratively consider what to do when they are breached. How will you hold each other accountable; operating above-the-line? What are the varying levels of accountability you might need?

Lastly consider how you will celebrate their attainment. What ways do people like appreciation shown to them and how might you personalise this?

Creating a cohesive culture doesn't just happen; it needs to be deliberately led and fostered.  
Going forward this week, notice what you are doing to either contribute-to, or detract-from the values of your work environment.