2 Types of People Who Have the Biggest Impact on Your Company Culture

When it comes to company culture, many business owners aren’t sure where to begin. They know it’s important and that it can help them grow and develop their team, but that’s where the knowledge runs out. Should you create a company handbook? Should you send out memos outlining desired behaviors? Should you start rewarding those that model behaviors and actions that you would like to see more of? How you structure your own company culture may vary, but there are a few things that are universal for all companies. And today I want to share the two types of people that have the biggest impact on company culture.

Ditch the handbook

But before we get into the two groups that matter most, I want to give a disclaimer about company handbooks. Of all the options available to you, the company handbook is perhaps the most outdated and least effective tool for building company culture. No one is going to read it. And it will be outdated before the ink even dries on the paper. Instead, my best advice is to give a thousand little taps. Use your daily standup to acknowledge a team member who modeled an example you want others to follow. Use those examples when training others. Never hesitate to let someone know when they made the right decision. And encourage your leadership team to do the same. Over time you will create a company culture that is able to adapt, unlike that outdated handbook.

Now let’s look at the two kinds of people who do the most for company culture.


No one has a bigger impact on company culture than your leadership team. But it’s not in the way you may think. While you can do training and encourage certain behaviors day to day, the most impactful teaching moments often take place when you don’t want everyone watching. Moments of stress and turmoil, and other emotionally elevated situations, are among the most telling for any leadership team.

Stress takes behavior that might slowly impact culture over time, and puts it on steroids.  The emotion of the moment amplifies the behavior in question, giving it much more power, and enabling it to soak into the crevices of your company.


Outside of your leadership team, there is another group of people that have the power to make or break your business. These are the key influencers within the company — and keep in mind, these people may or may not be on a leadership path. Maybe there is one person in the warehouse who has been there for years, and everyone looks to them for advice and help with work issues. Maybe it is your top salesperson, whom everyone looks to for advice and help with tough closings.

When these people take action, everyone on your team takes note. Whether we hold them out as an example or not, the fact that others see them as influential is automatically going to give their behavior power. So pay attention to what they do, as it’s going to shape the company culture for everyone.