Recipe for a Healthy Corporate Culture

Alex Pollock

What are the ingredients in a healthy company culture? Most of us recognize a healthy culture when we’re part of one and can certainly sense the cold chill of an unhealthy culture when we encounter it. I’ll stay on the positive side, however, and enlist your help in identifying the ingredients you deem are essential for a healthy culture.

  •   Ethics: the willingness to do the right thing
  • Candor
  • Fairness
  • Lack of fear
  • Leaders that create vision, care for people, and protect the mission
  • Team spirit
  • Questioning; no such thing as a bad question
  • People performing at the highest level
  • People recommend the workplace to family and friends
  • Leaders genuinely interested in how employees feel
  • Employee health and safety comes first
  • The “do good” to “look good” ratio is in balance
  • Urgency and excitement to make a difference
  • Employees before customers

What have I missed? Isn’t a culture that makes “every day a great day” a beautiful thing?  Which company cultures you think exemplify this recipe?


About Alex Pollock

Alex Pollock has been studying leadership effectiveness for more than 30 years. A former leader in environment, health and safety, and public affairs at The Dow Chemical Co., he learned that we all have leadership roles to play. He enjoys discussing new ideas and sharing practical ways we can all become better leaders.

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  1. This is the best list on the subject I have ever seen.

    The only opinion I have to offer is on the point:

    •Ethics; the willingness to do the right thing

    I would replace “willingness to do” with “insistence on doing”

  2. Stephen Evanoff

    June 11, 2012


    I think a healthy corporate culture is fundamental to a business’ ability to sustain a high level of performance over a long period of time. I think you’ve identified the most important elements of a healthy corporate culture.
    My boss uses the following simple, but insightful question to evaluate corporate culture, “Would you want your son or daughter to work here?”

  3. Alex Pollock

    June 12, 2012

    Thanks for your great insights William and Stephen. I remember when the question you raised Stephen used to be prominent in company employee surveys as a way to gauge employee satisfaction. Not used much in the surveys I’ve seen over the last 5-10 years.

  4. Debbie

    June 15, 2012

    Thanks for sharing Alex,
    I’d add encouraging listening and communication skills development. I just finished the book “delivering happiness” and there were some unique culture points — I recommend it to everyone.

    • Dash

      July 23, 2012

      I’d concur with Debbie – deep listening skills are essential. Also a willingness to “own” solutions. Some organizations I’ve known feel all things EH&S belong to the EH&S department. The healthier companies I’ve been involved with know EH&S is there to provide guidance and expertise where warranted in partnership with departments that “own” their compliance.

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