Have you heard the saying “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”? This saying plays on the idea that culture is a bigger success factor than strategy. Do you think culture has the power to make or break a company? Let’s find out. 

What is Company Culture?

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, an organization’s culture is based on the basic assumptions about the following:

  • Human nature. Inherited qualities of employees which affect the behavior of other stakeholders such as customers and suppliers. For example, do employees have a proactive or reactive approach towards their work?
  • The organization’s definition of its business environment. How does the organization define its business which impacts its environment and stakeholders?
  • Accepted emotions. What kind of emotions are allowed to be expressed in the organization and which ones are not?
  • Measuring success. What metrics reflect the success of the organization and its individuals? 

Many people think employees are the ones who make the company culture. But according to Forbes, company culture is something that is already in your company’s DNA and employees just absorb it, not create it. Even a company with just one employee or a company that has no employees at all, such as sole proprietor companies, has a vision and values created by the founders. Founders start their business with an idea that reflects their mission and vision. The company culture starts to form even before the first employee arrives. Company culture is inherited from its owners/founders and evolves with time. 

A Mission-Driven Work Culture Lead to Success

One of the best examples of a company being transformed by promoting a purpose-driven work culture is IBM’s transformation from 1993-2007. 

IBM recorded an 8 billion dollar loss in 1993 (the highest recorded loss in the US at that time) when a new CEO, Gerstner, took over the company. According to Gerstner, even IBM’s employees called its culture ‘stinked’ when he took over. He further states that IBM had a culture that focused more on individualism instead of teamwork. Gerstner had a clear purpose which was to “integrate to provide solutions” and he led his employees towards that purpose. Gerstner’s leadership increased the employee engagement with IBM and the company’s market capitalization went from 29 billion to 168 billion dollars during his time.

Your mission should not just be reflected in culture but in every task and department. One example of mission-driven work leading to success Lexus. During the pandemic, Lexus turned to mission-driven marketing. To see what they did and how you can practice mission-driven marketing, check out this blog.

Purpose Drives and Improves Employee Engagement

Gallup (2018) reports that only 34% of workers in the U.S. are enthusiastic about their jobs and committed to their work and workplace. This implies the vast majority of the employees in the US and probably around the whole world, are not engaged with their companies. 

According to Forbes, the main reason behind the disengagement of employees with the company brand is that they do not properly understand the purpose of the organization. 

When you promote your purpose to your employees, it results in a higher level of employee engagement and positive work culture that keeps them motivated. Why? Because when they engage in their day-to-day tasks they feel their work contributes to something meaningful. Forbes further states that purpose-driven workers are 54% more likely to stay for five years at a company and 30% more likely to become high performers than those who work only for their paychecks. 

How to Improve Your Work Culture?

In order to have a team that understands and believes the company’s purpose, it is important to have employees who have the right mindset. When employees are hired, you need to ask if they are passionate about the company’s products/services and mission. A good employee’s mindset must align with the company’s purpose.

As a company, it’s important to review your purpose and goals occasionally to make sure your work reflects it. Are you completing your tasks to check them off a to-do list or to support your mission? 


High-performance organizations are linked to being purpose-driven companies. Employees engage more with companies that have a clear purpose of existence and work towards that. A company with a mission-driven culture is one whose team believes and promotes its purpose. When you fail to unite company culture with purpose, you fail both your employees and customers.

Need to know how you can turn your company culture into a purpose-driven one and increase employee engagement with your brand? Click the button below to schedule a 30-minute complimentary strategy session with Colibri Digital Marketing to get the help you need to take your marketing to the next level.