All companies have a culture. In some cases, the culture is one that has been carefully constructed and nurtured, in others, the culture has evolved haphazardly over time, but either way, a culture is present, and it is defined by what it tolerates.
Think of IBM in the early days. They wanted a culture of professionalism. Employees were expected to show up for work well-groomed and in conservative business attire. Showing up for work with unkempt hair and wearing a Bud Lite tee shirt was not tolerated.
Ritz Hotels are legendary for customer service. Employees who don’t understand and practice world-class service are not tolerated.
At a manufacturing plant, employees on the assembly line are empowered to shut down the line if they spot something wrong. In that culture, high quality is expected and nothing short of that is tolerated.
Every culture is different. For IBM, conservative dress was an important part of the culture. For a general contractor, having carpenters, electricians, and plumbers trying to put up a building in 3-piece suits would be crazy. Nursing homes don’t tolerate violence. The Marine Corps teaches it.
The point is, your culture needs to be something put in place thoughtfully and deliberately, and it must answer the question, “How do we behave around here?” You need to consider all of your stakeholders . . . customers, employees, and vendors. What do you expect of them, and just as importantly, what do they expect of you? Your culture, what you tolerate and what you don’t, should reflect all of that.