The best metaphor I’ve heard recently describing the effect of a company culture on a business is that it is analogous to the effect of an “immune system” on the human body.

Our bodies are able to fight off most of the germs and diseases that we are exposed to on a daily basis due to the protective power of our immune system.

A culture works in exactly the same way. A strong culture based on sound principles is continuously at work defending against the internal and external forces that would erode that culture or defensive shield. Once the culture is weakened or destroyed the company becomes vulnerable and weak.

HIV is one of the worst diseases known to man because it specifically attacks the human immune system – opening the door to all kinds of diseases.

People who work against your culture have the same effect on your organization as the HIV virus has on the body. Little by little these people attack the company’s immune system by undermining the values and systems that make up the culture. Eventually, it degrades to the point where it can no longer defend itself against the debilitating and crippling problems that plague so many companies.

5 Culture Killers

  1. Hiring people who seem to have skills and experience but lack the attitude and respect that is so key to your corporate culture.
  2. Hiring people who seem to be “nice” people but lack a predisposition to the principles on which we operate.
  3. Leadership behaving in a way that is not in alignment with or in direct contradiction to core values.
  4. Allowing people to remain in your company who choose not to participate in a cultural system, practice, or behavior even though they support it verbally.
  5. The most destructive of all is to allow people to remain in your company who not only avoid participation in the culture but who also actively recruit others to their “anti-culture” point of view.