As soon as I approached Dutch Bros Coffee, I was immediately attracted to the culture.
The shop was full of enthusiastic employees dressed in pink to match the month’s Breast Cancer Awareness theme. Music was playing, conversation was flowing, and staff were engaged. The place was full of life and energy, and that energy carried over to my customer experience in the best way. My barista engaged in conversation, made recommendations, answered questions, and took the time to make me feel welcome. I left with coffee, a free coupon for the next visit, and an overwhelmingly positive impression of the brand.
In The Culture Business
The experience was a vivid reminder of the power of a compelling culture. The coffee was good and the service was speedy, but the stand out component of my visit was the vitality of the workplace and the way it impacted me, the customer. It felt relational, human, and interesting. The Dutch Bros website says, “We may be a coffee company, but we are in the relationship business.” My visit validated this statement.
How would you describe the culture of your workplace? Is it compelling? Would you say it is engaging, caring, vibrant, human, and thriving? Is there a theme that stands out such as diversity, hard work, fun, innovation, individuality, collaboration? Perhaps your workplace culture is stagnant, impersonal, and dull – or maybe even approaching toxic and dysfunctional.
Whatever its current state, the culture of your workplace matters, and it can and will change over time. Culture is not an outside force that directs the actions and attitudes of the people in a particular environment. Culture is created by the collective actions and attitudes of the people within the environment.
Culture is created by you! For those in healthy cultures, this means there is a responsibility to maintain this vitality—you cannot count on riding the coattails of previous culture cultivators. For those in stagnant or toxic cultures, the fact that it can change should be encouraging. You have the power to play a role in improving its health. Whatever your role is in your organization, you are in the culture business.
Start Your Business
What are you doing to help or hurt the culture in your workplace? As you reflect on this, here are four ways to create a more vibrant and compelling environment for those inside the culture, as well as those on whom your workplace has an impact.