15 Company Culture Quotes Every Leader Should Know

June 14, 2022
15 Company Culture Quotes Every Leader Should Know

The catchphrase “company culture” gets tossed around a lot these days, and it’s a major concern for employees, employers, job seekers, and even a company’s clients. Also called corporate culture, it’s a major indicator of a company's success — now and in the future. It's a somewhat nebulous term, however. So, we have pulled together some company culture quotes that give a clearer understanding of the concept and its importance. A strong corporate culture can impact everything from retention and productivity to sales. But what is it, exactly? Company culture is a mix of attitudes, procedural norms, behavioral norms, ethics, codes of conduct, company policies, management style, values, and goals that make up the company’s “personality.” It encompasses the feelings of those who work there. Culture impacts how engaged employees are, or aren't. There are several different kinds of company culture. Here are just 4 you might be familiar with:

  • Hierarchy culture.
    A highly-structured and process-oriented culture with a top-down management style.
  • Market culture.
    A high-pressure, results, and goal-driven culture where high incentives are placed on achievement.
  • Clan culture.
    A culture that fosters teamwork, mentorship, communication, and building relationships that work well.
  • Innovation culture.
    A culture all about innovation and new ideas, with a low focus on specific procedures, but a high emphasis on creating the next big thing.

Naturally, a lot of companies develop hybrid models of these culture styles, but they still tend to weigh more heavily on one than the other. Three-quarters of adults put company culture above even salary and benefits when choosing a workplace.

Three-quarters of adults put company culture above even salary and benefits when choosing a workplace.

Quotes on healthy company culture

A great company culture can lead to positive employee engagement and long-term business success. And these inspiring company culture quotes from successful CEOs and business leaders can help you forge a healthy internal culture too:

  1. “As a company grows, communication becomes its biggest challenge. If the employees fundamentally trust the CEO, then communication will be vastly more efficient than if they don’t. Telling things as they are is a critical part of building this trust. A CEO’s ability to build this trust over time is often the difference between companies that execute well and companies that are chaotic.” — Ben Horowitz, bestselling author, CEO, co-founder, and general partner at Andreessen Horowitz
  2. “The way I think about culture is that modern humans have radically changed the way that they work and the way that they live. Companies need to change the way they manage and lead to match the way that modern humans actually work and live. We're trying to re-craft culture in a way that really matches that. I think that 99% of companies are kind of stuck in the '90s when it comes to their culture.” — Brian Halligan, executive chairman of HubSpot’s Board of Directors
  3. “I look for two things when I hire a new employee: ambition and humility. Without a proven track record of initiative and ambition, it’s likely the person becomes a drain rather than a contributor to the company — even the really smart, talented ones.” — Justin McLeod, founder, and CEO of Hinge
  4. “The most vocal challengers to most cultures are the first to be shown the door. It’s in human nature to want to eliminate the most disruptive people. And it’s also human nature to want to bring in more people that fit in well. Repeat these two behaviors over time and culture becomes homogeny, even if everyone still believes the culture values diversity.” — Scott Berkun, bestselling author, and popular speaker on UX design

Quotes on employee engagement

Of course, boosting employee engagement and employee satisfaction will naturally bring a sustainable competitive advantage to your company and improve a company's culture in exciting ways.

  1. “Engaging the hearts, minds, and hands of talent is the most sustainable source of competitive advantage.” — Greg Harris, president and CEO of Quantum Workplace
  2. “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, brand leadership expert, author, speaker
  3. “Employee engagement arises out of culture and not the other way around.” — Moe Carrick & Cammie Dunaway, co-authors of Fit Matters: How to Love Your Job
  4. “When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.” — Simon Oliver Sinek, British-born American author and motivational speaker

Quotes on leadership

Good leadership requires you to surround yourself with people of diverse perspectives who can disagree with you without fear of retaliation.”

It’s often leadership that sets the tone for company culture. So creating a healthy creative culture that spurs future innovation really depends on how you lead. So, select diverse leaders who value honest feedback as part of the corporate process.

  1. “Presenting leadership as a list of carefully defined qualities (like strategic, analytical, and performance-oriented) no longer holds. Instead, true leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed. Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection.” — Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and founder of LeanIn.Org
  2. “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
  3. Good leadership requires you to surround yourself with people of diverse perspectives who can disagree with you without fear of retaliation.” — Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning, New York Times #1 best-selling author and a partner in Pastimes Productions

Quotes on success

When leadership fosters and nurtures a positive company culture, it motivates people to succeed and builds teams that have a common aspiration to move forward toward success together. This last batch of culture quotes looks at the ultimate goal.

  1. “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” — Henry Ford, American industrialist and founder of the Ford Motor Company
  2. “Company culture is the backbone of any successful organization.” — Gary Vaynerchuk, New York Times bestselling author, speaker, and Internet personality
  3. “This is not about fuzzy, holding hands around a campfire, kumbaya stuff. That’s not what values and culture and mission is about. This is about building an organization for success. This is about winning. This is about doing the tactical things to make sure your organization and your people are aligned around the same thing.” — Justin Moore, CEO of Axcient
  4. “Until I came to IBM, I probably would have told you that culture was just one among several important elements in any organization's makeup and success — along with vision, strategy, marketing, financials, and the like. ... I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn't just one aspect of the game, it is the game. In the end, an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value.” — Louis V. Gerstner Jr., former CEO of IBM

Building a great company culture

It’s not easy to change company culture. However, good leadership, communication, and attitude can boost employee engagement — which will create an effective culture and foster a more creative environment.

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