Put the 'Cult' in Culture

To elevate your company culture, be authentic and focus on building positive energy in your company.
Founder, BackPocket COO
May 14, 2012

Building a successful business means creating something that is "slightly more than a business and slightly less than a religion,” says my friend and mentor Greig Clark.

Many things help build a world-class work environment: creating a great physical space, cultivating a thriving social environment, instilling a sense of ownership in each employee.

But you can focus on three more areas to elevate your company into the “zone of cult.” Energy, power and authenticity are key.


I’m not a hippie, but I do believe that positive energy is powerful and contagious. Cram your workplace with positive energy and your employees will be happier and more productive. Allow negative energy to creep in, and watch petty squabbles, gossip and backstabbing percolate.

As the leader of your company, one of your 10 million responsibilities is to set the energy level for your employees. At the end of each day, ask yourself, “What did I do today to raise the energy level of my team?”


Commanding power does not mean using an iron fist to demand a world-class culture or playing petty games like raising your seat so you tower above your employees. Rather, strive to make your meetings more powerful.

Meetings are microcosms of your company culture. What do long, fruitless, boring meetings say about that culture?

Vibrant, efficient, focused meetings turn what can be the worst part of people’s workdays into productive events. And you can imagine what kind of effect that has on the workplace culture you are trying to build.


Every company strives to build a unique culture. It might be innovative or fun. It might even be a culture of growth. But to be successful, you have to get buy-in from everyone in your organization. And for that to happen, the entire process has to be organic and authentic.

If you aren’t a rah-rah type of leader, trying to motivate employees can come off as forced or awkward. Find people in your organization that are suitably enthusiastic and empower them to rally the troops.

Maybe you are good with large groups or feel more comfortable mentoring employees one on one. You might revel in hoisting a few pints with your crew after work on Friday, or prefer treating them to coffee once in a while.

Build a culture that fits with your morals and your standards. Create one that plays to your strengths.

The best leaders don’t put on a face or play a character. They learn to be themselves and find people who are drawn to them. That’s how they create a culture that works.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

Founder, BackPocket COO