Your company has a culture, and it may not be the one you want. I’ve worked at a number of businesses and the fact is that the ‘culture’ that management thought they were fostering and the culture that the employees thought was there, were two entirely different things.
A company’s core values are what define its culture. Your culture is the outward facing perception given by your values. What does the company feel like for employees? For customers? For the community?
One company I worked at had 2 managers and a boss that did most things together, during work and outside of it. This created a culture of separation between them and the many of the other employees. This showed itself in a fairly high turn over rate with those that came on after the boss started (since he was the director of the business appointed by the board).
I’ve worked at another company that had a culture of working lots of overtime (which is most likely 90% of software and web companies). They certainly like to talk about building ‘happy programmers’ but it was something nice to say, with little follow through.
The businesses I have worked in have given me more lessons in what I would not want to do in my business. One thing I really want to do is really know my business culture. It easy when it’s just me (as it is now) but as I look at getting contractors then employees I need to find a way to know the culture through the eyes of the people I employ.
No matter what your culture is it will come through to your clients, so make sure you take real interest in it.