Self realisation and identity are what businesses and individuals are really talking about when they mention brand and culture.

Authenticity is a word that is overused and far too often analysed. It is an extrapolation of the question, ‘who am I?’ Be that in a corporate or personal sense and to consider what actions to take in order to demonstrate one’s authenticity is a pointless task without first discovering what is true in this moment and what changes are wise and required.

In the case of culture, businesses ask how to ‘define’ or ‘improve’ a culture. The truth is, most times the answers to these questions are known and unspoken, because they hold hard truths that often mean confronting individuals and slaying sacred cows that have long been held to be ‘important’ when in fact, with some clarity and honesty and the potential of some short term pain culture becomes a thing that everyone is part of, not simply conceptual or worse, a few posters on a wall.

But why bother? Many businesses and managers will see culture as a non-problem or the result of other’s shortcomings. However, most organisational issues stem from this one issue – how to define who we really are. In problem solving, once the culture and therefore the ‘rules’ of the business have been defined, the business itself begins making up it’s own mind about who it is and many things that used to take hours of argument and soul searching are obvious decisions as team members look to the culture as a guide.

As a recruitment strategy, a clearly defined culture enables a business to attract the right people for the right reasons. An awareness of what an organisation is will draw in the right people and eliminate those that would impact upon it negatively. In fact team members with often become the custodians of the culture and in doing so become guardians of the business also. It is from here the foundations of an ‘in house story’ develop and those in the business become a part of something bigger than themselves. The culture itself becomes a retention tool.

In defining a culture, as in attempting to define oneself, the first step is always to look inward at how you see yourself, and then how you really are. We are the worst people to judge ourselves because we all have preconceptions and aspirational beliefs. We should ask someone who will be honest and enjoy telling the truth openly and with no negative implications. Then comes the most difficult part – admitting what is correct in these comments, accepting them and then letting go of misconceptions.

As with anything worthwhile, cultural definition can be painful and arduous. However, there are few things that can create such meaningful and powerful change.