Culture vs Cult

23 October, 2015
Charlie Hooper

Culture vs Cult

23 October, 2015
Culture is everything these days.

We’ve talked about it before as one of the major selling points for smaller businesses, how graduates can use it to gauge how they’ll fit in with a company and, of course, how much we love ours here at Instant Impact!

But you also see the odd piece in the news about a business whose culture is a little…well…odd. What we’re wondering is, when does your prized corporate culture become a company cult, and how do you keep that from happening?

People Who Are In vs People Who Are Out

A good culture encourages individuality, knowing that it can lead to great things. A good culture will also foster a communal atmosphere, but it starts to get a little culty when you’re either in or you’re out, and when there’s hostility towards those who don’t fit the mould. Don’t assume that a team has to be a clique in order to be the best.

Group Think

When the group all think the same, there’s very little chance of development. Combat group think with idea generation sessions where people throw out ideas. Don’t evaluate them straight away and you’ll remove some of the stress caused by idea generation. You’re much more likely to see some creativity and discover a few gems this way.

Top Up On Talent

Of course, as a growing business, you’ll want to do this anyway. Recruiting top talent is crucial to an evolving business, but it’s also a great way to ensure your company culture stays fresh and doesn’t get complacent. By bringing in new people, you’re not only growing and developing your business, but also growing and developing your culture.

Encourage Input

Another way to do this is by creating dialogue mechanisms. Have the occasional open discussion where staff are encouraged to give opinions on aspects of the business. Perhaps you need feedback on a new initiative, or you’re going to change one of your practises and just want to make sure everyone feels comfortable asking questions.

As long as anything said is treated with the respect it deserves, and no new idea is rejected on the basis of pride, you should develop a far more attractive company culture. Open forums let your staff know you value them and also give keep your practised under a bit of healthy scrutiny.

So, basically:


  • Be a tyrant
  • Isolate any outsiders


  • Attack issues rather than people
  • Generally attempt to be open to new ideas and experiences.

Those are Instant Impact’s tips to creating an awesome and close-knit culture without it veering off into the reductive territory of a cult.

If you want to give topping up on talent a go, get in touch to find out about recruiting top graduates.

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