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S**t STEVE JOBS SAID: On Your Culture Being Special...

I miss Steve Jobs.  Actually I miss him being an ass, but ultimately being right on so many things.? Here's a talent nugget from the Jobs book talking about how kids have basically assimilated to the same culture across the world:

When Steve's family got to Istanbul, he hired a history professor to give his family a tour.  At the end they went to a Turkish bath, where the professor's lecture gave Jobs an insight about the globalization of youth:

"I had a real revelation.  We were all in robes, and they made some Turkish coffee for us.  The professor explained how the coffee was made very different from anywhere else, and I realized, "So f**king what?"  Which kids even in Turkey give a shit about Turkish coffee?  All day I had looked at young people in Istanbul.  They were all drinking what every other kid in the world drinks, and they were wearing clothes that look like they were bought at the Gap, and they were all using cell phones like kids everywhere else.  It hit me that, for yourng people, the whole world is the same now."

Classic Steve Jobs.  Your coffee is different than in my culture?  The old people in your culture are the only people who care.

Your company's culture is different from other companies?  Better find a way to connect with candidates, because nobody outside your company, and more probably, your leadership team, thinks your coffee/culture is special...



Symbols like styles of dress change over time and are not core components of a culture. At it's core, cultures are a set of shared values, a code of conduct. These values and codes of conduct change very slowly and are different between cities, states, countries, regions, religions, political parties, and yes, even companies. It's why people feel like they fit well some places but not others. Most leaders don't understand what culture is, what its components are, or how to identify what is unique about their company. They find it easier to fall back on meaningless permission-to-play values like integrity instead of digging deep to learn what parts of its behavior are critical to its success. And many people confuse perks -- things that can be bought -- with culture. So, as much as I sometimes respect Steve Jobs, culture a tool that has its place.


Completely agree @Tscottdrake - culture can be a defining part of an organization and greatly affect employee happiness and productivity. The problem is, like you said, people often don't address the right issues when they're trying to improve their company's culture. There needs to be a better way to objectively measure the important values in a workplace and find the gaps between current and ideal culture.

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