Todd Dewett, Author, Speaker, Educator

Todd DewettDr. Dewett is one of the world’s most-watched leadership personalities:  an authenticity expert, a best-selling author at LinkedIn Learning, a TEDx speaker, and an Inc. Magazine Top 100 leadership speaker. He has been quoted widely, including the New York Times, BusinessWeek, and TIME. After beginning his career with Andersen Consulting and Ernst & Young he completed his Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior at Texas A&M University and enjoyed a career as an award-winning professor.  Todd has delivered over 1,000 speeches and created a body of educational work enjoyed by over 10,000,000 professionals around the globe.

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What does organizational culture mean to you?

Culture is a shared understanding of how we do things in an organization.  It can be hard to define, but typically includes shared stories, values, and beliefs that make an organization unique. This underlying culture then drives how we think and behave at work.

What are the major determinants of organizational culture?

There are many things that impact organizational culture, including leadership behaviors, big organizational wins or losses, new strategies, the initiation or cessation of key practices or policies, strong onboarding/socialization of new members.

What is the role of employees in organizational culture?

Employees are bound by culture. Culture, in essence, provides a set of norms for behavior. Also, when working together employees serve as important catalysts for cultural change. In a healthy organization, employee voices are heard and taken seriously.  Thus, when top managers attempt to initiate a shift in culture, they are very often driven by employee input.

What are the common problems associated with managing organizational culture?

Enforcing behavioral congruence with culture is difficult. The components of culture are somewhat difficult to define, so it’s not always clear when a behavior does not fit the culture. What is clear is that strong organizations must openly talk about this issue. If they do not, each instance of behavior that does not fit the culture becomes a potential influence on others. Over time, this can be a threat to the organization, an ongoing incongruence between stated culture and actual behavior. Very often, however, it is not dangerous and simply reflects emerging subcultures within the organization. Multiple subcultures are normal and can be very healthy if there is at least some small core culture that is shared across the groups.

What are the ways to innovate company culture? Any best practices to share.

I love to say that leaders model the way. Strong change may or may not be initiated by top leadership, but it will definitely need bold moves by the senior leaders to actually create change. Cultural change is always difficult. One great way to ensure success is to stop doing something that affects the entire company that is unpopular. For example, calling for a moratorium on performance evaluations so that a cross-functional group of employees can work on improving the process. Or, you might start something new that impacts everyone. Let’s say you want a more relaxed innovative culture and you have a conservative and formal history. It might be time to institute a new more casual dress code – one that must be embraced and modeled by all senior leaders.

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