Culture is Traffic

My wife gave me a really weird look when I shared this half-baked analogy with her but here goes anyway:

Company culture is like traffic.

It’s easy to treat both traffic and company culture as something that is happening to you, when in reality, you’re actually actively contributing to both.

I don’t know about you, but when I get stuck in traffic, I get really frustrated with all of the idiots that are keeping me from where I need to go. When in reality, I’m the traffic too.

Company culture is the exact same way – yes you are in a culture, but you’re also actively contributing to it, especially in a small organization or a small team.

The difference is, you definitely can’t really do anything about a 200 car traffic jam on I85, but you can definitely do something about company culture.

In fact, in a 45 person company, you’re about 1/45th of the company culture, give or take a little bit based on your seniority and your time on the team. Either way, that’s pretty impactful.

There are certainly workplaces with an irredeemably rotten culture and there are also massive global corporations where it’s really hard to make an impact, but in small companies or in small teams, you can always go the extra mile to help a client or to thank a teammate or do a little bit of extra work to squeak out a win, and that’s what builds culture.

That’s the great thing about company culture – you can make it better. Traffic on the other hand, still working on that one. I’ll keep you posted.