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20 Company Culture Quotes Every Leader Should Read

Zappos, Starbucks, Google and Netflix – they all have something in common. They’ve made the news for talking about company culture. Why now?

Our current business environment has a backlog of trust issues. From oil spills and bank fraud, to wiretapping and food contamination – people are tired. Employees, clients, and consumers are demanding transparency and authenticity.

Now, more than ever, our ability to access and share information has developed a thirst for learning about what’s happening behind the scenes. And often, it’s the intangible assets buried in organizational culture that truly differentiate a company, service, or product.

The experiences, expectations, relationships and emotional connections created for employees and clients contribute to success or result in struggle across key areas.

While we believe culture can be measured, it is often best experienced. To help describe it’s importance, we’re turning to those who have said it best. In the 20 company culture quotes that follow, we hope you’ll find a spark of inspiration. 

(Want more? Here are 20 Culture Strategy Quotes Every Consultant Should Know)

“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

| Teddy Roosevelt

“Culture is the magic start-up ingredient.”

| Colin Angle, Co-founder, iRobot

“The number one muscle to flex in hiring is culture.”

| Brian Halligan, CEO, HubSpot

Related Reading: “Help Wanted: Dirt Bags and Dragon Slayers”

“Why is culture so important to a business? Here is a simple way to frame it. The stronger the culture, the less corporate process a company needs. When the culture is strong, you can trust everyone to do the right thing.”

| Brian Chesky, Co-founder and CEO, Airbnb

“Corporate culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage that is completely within the control of the entrepreneur. Develop a strong corporate culture first and foremost.”

| David Cummings, Co-founder, Pardot

“I used to believe that culture was ‘soft,’ and had little bearing on our bottom line. What I believe today is that our culture has everything to do with our bottom line, now and into the future.”

| Vern Dosch, Author, Wired Differently

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

| Peter Drucker, Author

“Culture is like the wind. It is invisible; yet its effect can be seen and felt.”

| Bryan Walker, Partner and Managing Director, Ideo

“Corporate culture is really hard to define; it’s the side effects of working for your organization.”

| Jacob Morgan, Author, The Future of Work

“With a single, unifying drive behind both your culture and your brand, you reap the benefits of a focused and aligned workforce.”

| Denise Lee Yohn, Author

Related Reading: Interview with Denise Lee Yohn

“Determine what behaviors and beliefs you value as a company, and have everyone live true to them. These behaviors and beliefs should be so essential to your core, that you don’t even think of it as culture.”

| Brittany Forsyth, SVP of HR, Shopify


“Now, thanks to the radical transparency made possible by a connected world, your business is a glass box. People can see all the way inside. And that means that now the brand is everything they see. Every person. Every process. Every value. Everything that happens, ever. There’s a single word that sums up what a person sees when they look deep inside your business: they see your culture."

| David Mattin, Head of Trends & Insights, TrendWatching

“There’s really no such thing as internal culture any more. Your culture is always public, and it’s your most powerful, public-facing asset or liability.”

| David Mattin, Head of Trends & Insights, TrendWatching

Related Reading: “Wells Fargo: The High Cost of Culture Crisis”

“Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.”

| Simon Sinek, Author & Speaker

“Employee engagement arises out of culture and not the other way around.”

|  Moe Carrick & Cammie Dunaway, Authors, Fit Matters

“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.”

| Anne M. Mulcahy, CEO, Xerox

“Every CEO is in fact a Chief Cultural Officer. The terrifying thing is it’s the CEO’s actual behavior, not their speeches or the list of values they have put up on posters, that defines what the culture is. Without these four powers (Hiring, Firing, Promoting, Punishing) any employee at the company is along for the ride in a culture driven by someone more powerful than they are.”

| Scott Berkun, Author & Speaker

“Culture is the deeper level of basic assumptions and beliefs that are shared by members of an organization, that operate unconsciously and define in a basic ‘taken for granted’ fashion an organization’s view of its self and its environment.”

| Edgar Schein, Author & Former Professor, MIT

“Anything that is measured and watched, improves.”

| Bob Parsons, Founder, Godaddy Group