How to Define Your Culture Early

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"If I could start over, it would be on values and culture earlier, we didn’t focus on it until 5 years later"
— Tony Hsieh, CEO,

It’s no news flash. Culture is one of the most important business imperatives of 2016. From CEO’s to HR Leaders to Founders alike, it’s clear that culture drives people’s behaviors, innovation, and customer service.

According to Deloitte’s 2016 Human Capital Report*, 82% of survey respondents believe that "culture is a potential competitive advantage". However, only 28% believe they understand their culture well, and only 19% believe they have the “right culture.”

What does developing the "right culture" mean? To DH, it starts with crafting values that are more than "words on a wall" or "feel good lip service". Lessons from Zappos and years of consulting experience working with companies big and small, we’ve discovered that your values need to be:

  1. Unique
  2. Meaningful
  3. Strategic

When working with clients, we go beyond helping them craft aspirational words. We catch people doing things right and excavate implicit, underlying values that reflect the core of who they are and what they stand for.

The bottom line is, you’re never too big or too big small AND it's never too late or too early to create your best, unique culture.

About the Author

Kelsey Lotus Wong


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