Identifying and Defining Successful Cultural Behavior

Identifying and Defining Successful Cultural Behavior

This article is part three in the series on “Culture Building”. It is hoped that this will offer an effective guide to culture building. The previous articles discussed the reasons to build strong internal culture, its positive effects and the steps to building a strong culture. The links are available here: “What is the “Culture Building” Talk All About?” and Building a Strong Company Culture.

This will article focus on how to identify and define successful behavior inside a culture. Helping your team understand what is and what is not successful will ease the process of building a strong internal culture.

Webster defines behavior as: the way a person or animal acts or behaves, the manner of conducting oneself, the response of an individual, group, or species to its environment.

The definition of behavior in a culture is the way your employee responds to the company culture. This response is either positive or negative, depending on how the employee views the culture, position and the company. For example, an employee who does not believe in the company’s culture might overstep boundaries or ignore defined protocol. Employees who believe in the culture will go the extra mile to achieve company success.

Great leaders recognize we cannot change people. We can only change how we interact and manage them to maximize productivity in a positive motivating culture. We can build and motivate appropriate behavior and eliminate unacceptable behavior. Thus, identifying good behavior is paramount to success in a culture. This will allow the company to reward success more effectively and create repeatable positive behaviors inside the company culture.

How do we identify good behavior? There are two sets of identifiable behaviors. One is the behavior that is readily apparent in team members who are good employees. These behaviors will usually spring from core values and can be defined in simple day to day actions.

For example: Attendance, appropriate greetings, team work, mutual respect, organization, etc…

It is important to note that we must specifically define behaviors by stating what, when, and how often.

“Team members must arrive at work five minutes prior to their scheduled start time.”

The second set of behaviors are those that impact productivity. These are less easily identified. Behaviors that impact productivity are often specific skills that may change based on an employee’s position in a company. This will require more in-depth assessments and measurements. These are accomplished through detailed observations, interviews and outcome based productivity measures.

Once the correct behaviors are identified the real work begins: defining success for the team. There are several moving parts that define success. They include:

  • Behavior based job descriptions
  • Team minimum standards
  • Annual evaluations
  • Specific written goals
  • Formal reward and recognition
  • Informal reward and recognition
  • Career promotions

Defining success is more than just putting in writing what is successful. Management must reinforce this definition of success by recognizing and promoting team members that successfully execute the defined behaviors. Although this may seem simple it is crucial to building your company’s culture. Your efforts can be undermined by promoting and rewarding employees that do not exhibit the desired behaviors of your culture. Thus, your regular actions and interactions will over time define success in your company.

A positive motivating culture is with the reach of every company. It starts with your actions. 


Author: Jay Toups

Catholic entrepreneur, father, grandfather, speaker, blogger and writer from Louisiana. Author of "The Storm: A Time of Mercy, Choices and Hope.", "The Cajun Storm: God's Servant First." and "In Search of Our Savior"

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