Culture - It's Not Just for Anthropologists Anymore

By Rob Rush CEO, LRA Worldwide | May 19, 2010

The list of trendy business buzzwords that enter the national consciousness and swiftly become hackneyed, empty shells of their previously profound selves is long and distinguished.

To understand this phenomenon, one needn't think outside the box to identify the low-hanging fruit that will allow us to innovate, simplify and effect the paradigm shift that will be a win-win (with ROI!) for all the key stakeholders.

See what I mean. What at one time may have been evocative and meaningful becomes, at best, white noise. At worst - trite and laughable.

I bring this up because a concept that is near and dear to my heart - and, at least in my opinion, still very powerful and meaningful - may be meandering down the path to overuse and emptiness. Culture. Not the kind of culture associated with La Boh`eme or strep throat, but the type that dictates who we are, what we do, how we do it and how we pass it along.

For the record, this type of "culture" is defined as "the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations." Pretty heady stuff, but if you flip open any dime-store business periodical - hospitality industry trades included - you are liable to be overwhelmed with the offhand references to "culture" and its near-ubiquitous impact on the business environment. At this point, "culture" is used as a catch-all proxy for various pitfalls and challenges in any business. For instance:

"Bob just wasn't a good fit for the culture here."

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