There’s something about “culture” that everyone wants to own today.

Gigantic corporations are tasking their leaders and managers to figure out how to create genuine, authentic, and entrepreneurial innards, environments that will attract millennials who prefer to work in fast and nimble start-ups.

Ad publications claim, though a handful of case histories, that marketers should own the culture fit bit and make sure that brands reflect company values.  And vice versa. 

Even recruiter Egon Zehnder adds its two cents by revealing its 100-person survey results:  Ninety-five percent believe perceived culture affects the brand.  Sixty percent say culture supports the brand – and   20 percent say it’s an underminer.  Ergo, CMOs need to embrace that word.

Yet culture needs to be owned by the right individual(s).

The creation of culture – and its values – clearly belongs in the province of the leader.  It’s s/he who reflects the organization, shapes (or re-creates) its values, and acts to show the way.  It’s not marketing speak.  Nor solely developed by the CHRO.  And, for sure, not locked up in a wordy company manual.

Culture needs to live, to breathe, and to, if needs be, adjust to current realities.  Companies do, during crises or turnovers, rethink values … and re-cast them, with smart planning, to inspire, motivate, and transition to the new way.  After all, if culture is the way we work around here, why shouldn’t (eventually) everyone own it?