Creating An Overnight Culture

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Creating An Overnight Culture

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By now you’ve definitely heard of the overnight success story. Can it be true for an organization’s culture? Is it true for success?

business people group on meeting at modern startup office

It seems that way sometimes. You know, that people or businesses become overnight sensations, but finding one is about as common as a seeing a Sasquatch or the Loch Ness monster.

Sure, this could possibly happen, but proving it seems to be problematic.

You hear about great cultures. You hear about the organization that offers free food, employees can come and go as they please with no specific work schedule, they go bowling together, they play softball, they do work for a favorite charity, and then they have a party while everyone holds hands and sings Kum Ba Yah.

What’s their social proof? It’s that flashy sizzle reel (video) on their website.

The Truth

You can’t expect to build an overnight culture. Culture takes time. A well respected culture develops through a story, a story that the organization creates. A story that is representative of a collection of moments that develops over time, often a lot of time.

What is your story? What are you building?

Your culture isn’t created by what you say it is. It is created by what you do. Not what you did yesterday, or the day before, and not what you’ll do tomorrow. Your culture is a collection of actions, behaviors, and outcomes repeated over time.

Your culture is what your customers feel. It’s what motivates your employees day after day, even on Monday’s and Friday’s. The truth is it won’t just happen because someone says it is so.


Many of life’s best or worst happen in moments. Your life can change in a moment, but who you are takes more time. We often look at a situation and can label it as a defining moment, but it isn’t just that single event or moment that will build the proof of who you are. It’s what you’ll do next, and what you continue to do across time. It’ habits, traditions, and norms.

The same is true for the culture of your organization.

When you create an atmosphere and environment that allows for the opportunity to have more moments, your culture will continue to develop. When you repeat that over and over and over again, you’ll build something.

What will you build? What will be in the mind of your team? What will your customers and vendors see, hear, and feel? What will be the spirit of who you are, what you do, and how others define you?

What will be in your collection?

Building a Collection

Eating one bowl of ice cream, or a large piece of double chocolate cake once a week won’t change much about your weight or health, neither will one salad or a single veggie concoction you mix up in a blender.

Your culture is a collection of moments.

What you can collect overnight might be highly overestimated, but what you can collect across weeks, months, or years is probably significantly underestimated.

Make sure you’re collecting all the right stuff.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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