What You Say & How You Act Defines Your Business Culture

What are cultural beliefs in an enterprise? How do they differ from the vision and mission of the company? And most importantly, who defines them and what role do they play? We recently worked with our client, Radisson Hotel Group, on a milestone rebranding effort designed to align a global company around a single vision — to become one of the top three hospitality companies in the next five years — a tall order since they are currently number 11. To meet this ambitious goal, they developed a powerful five-year strategic plan with 25 key initiatives to transform every aspect of the company. One of the most important initiatives was to unite Radisson Hotel Group’s 95,000 team members so they could effectively deliver on the company’s vision.

To do this, the group needed to align their diverse talent with a foundation of new cultural beliefs to serve as both familiar and aspirational guidance for how everyone in the organization behaves. Done successfully, the culture would drive meaningful contributions to the business and build alignment around the world.

The process of defining, sharing and delivering on cultural beliefs needs to be a thoughtful exercise that includes everyone in the enterprise to understand the purpose of the culture and its role in meeting the company’s goals. Cultural beliefs can be based on historical principles and/or created to represent new, desired behaviors. Ultimately, they come to life when the organization aligns its beliefs, communicates them often and puts action into practice to create a culture that drives personal growth and business success.

At Wye Communications, we defined six cultural beliefs to drive decision-making for our organization and clients. Purposefully designed to help further our mission to be a #modernagency, we refer to our beliefs constantly; whether interviewing candidates, holding each other accountable or counseling our clients.

Wyecomm’s cultural beliefs:
1. We have each other’s back
2. We are prepared
3. We look for a better way
4. We work hard
5. We tell the truth
6. We are resourceful

Culture in the workplace is what you say and how you act, not a list of ideas that sit idly on an intranet. Communicating and behaving based on agreed upon cultural beliefs can help guide the people, skills and attributes needed to align a workforce and meet the complex needs of an ever-changing business environment.

We all know the saying “culture eats strategy for breakfast” but are we really doing enough to build a culture we live and breathe each day? The answer is probably not. So, start by defining your core beliefs, communicate them early and often and strive to exemplify them in all you do.


This piece also can be found on Wye Communications’ blog. It was written by Erica Swerdlow, Chief Executive Officer of Wye Communications. With more than 25 years of experience working in public relations, Erica’s expertise includes managing corporate reputation, brand marketing, celebrity and event management, media relations and agency operations and integration. Find out more about Wye Communications at wyecomm.com.