Is an organization’s culture obvious to the customer, or is that something you can hide?

1.6k views2 Upvotes8 Comments

CIO in Finance (non-banking), 51 - 200 employees
Culture does stand out. You can always hide it, but you can't hide it forever. There’s only so much free stuff that you can give out, people know what is sincere and what is not. Your culture permeates throughout your internal and external customers. The benefits might get you in the door, but then you’ll realize that the product isn't what it was supposed to be and you don't get funding, which gets people down. You can't make numbers and that never feels good. Maybe they pay a lot of money so you'll look the other way, but how long can you do that? We can all think of organizations here in the valley that are examples of that, which is why you always hear people say, “No matter how much they would pay me, I would never work there because of the culture.” On the flip side, what is your definition of a bad culture? What's bad for me may be awesome for someone else. Maybe it’s just a super salesy culture and someone else would really thrive in that context.
CEO in Software, 11 - 50 employees
I think it would be difficult to hide a negative culture for any period of time, but there are different cultures that people buy into and are good with. Generally speaking, there are some that would be considered toxic and the people that survive there are not people you'd ever want to work with. Their ability to survive there doesn't make it a good culture. And if you have prisoners running customer service, chances are your external customers are going to notice your bad culture as much as your internal customers do. One way or the other.
1 1 Reply
Member Board of Directors in Finance (non-banking), 201 - 500 employees

It's very difficult to hide when you have a toxic company culture, but sometimes you can have a slightly different culture within the specific organization because of the leadership, whether it's customer service or IT, etc.

Chief Information Officer in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
An organization’s culture is exposed sooner and faster for internal customers than it is for external customers. You can’t hide it for too long. It’s reflected by our actions, commitments, behavior and follow-ups.
Director of IT in Software, 201 - 500 employees
It can be easily seen with a few meetings with an organization. I interact with a lot of organizations/vendors and can tell who has great org culture and who is ok/bad. Especially during the covid, on average I have more meetings with outside organizations as you do not spend time to travel to meet in person, some organizations really stand out, especially if you have multiple meeting with various team members.
CISO in Energy and Utilities, 10,001+ employees
Our organization's culture is one of our most valuable differenciators that help us create a stronger relationship customer-company, because it is a customer centric culture.
Co-Founder | Head of Product & Technology in Education, 11 - 50 employees
The culture of an org manifests itself in behavior of its people and customers definitely see behavior. 
CISO in Software, 201 - 500 employees
forgive my mechanical metaphor; but, Org Culture is to business what engine oil is to an Internal Combustion engine; it is not the fuel, neither does it contribute to the presentation, but it is what keeps the machine running smoothly, the more toxic it gets, sooner or later the engine is going to stall. Its symptoms will show, but quite subtly. If unnoticed, one fine day the machinery is kaput. And getting it back up again is going to a behemoth task.

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