Create a Culture of Greatness

by Al Smith

guest blog post by Jon Gordon


Create a Culture of Greatness 


To build a winning a team and a successful organization you must create a culture of greatness.

It’s the most important thing a leader can do because culture drives behavior, behavior drives habits and habits create the future. As the leaders at Apple say, “Culture beats strategy all day long.”

When you create a culture of greatness you create a collective mindset in your organization that expects great things to happen—even during challenging times. You expect your people to be their best, you make it a priority to coach them to be their best and most of all you create a work environment that fuels them to be their best.

A culture of greatness creates an expectation that everyone in the organization be committed to excellence. It requires leaders and managers to put the right people in the right positions where they are humble and hungry and willing to work harder than everyone else. A culture of greatness dictates that each person use their gifts and strengths to serve the purpose and mission of the organization. And it means that you don’t just bring in the best people, but you also bring out the best in your people.

If you are thinking that this sounds like common sense, it is. But unfortunately far too many organizations expect their people to be their best but they don’t invest their time and energy to help them be their best nor do they create an environment that is conducive to success. They want great results but they are not willing to do what it takes to create a culture of greatness.

A culture of greatness requires that you find the right people that fit your culture. Then you coach them, develop them, mentor them, train them and empower them to do what they do best. As part of this process you develop positive leaders who share positive energy throughout the organization because positive energy flows from the top down. You also don’t allow negativity to sabotage the moral, performance and success or your organization. You deal with negativity at the cultural level so your people can spend their time focusing on their work instead of fighting energy vampires. And you find countless ways to enhance communication, build trust and create engaged relationships that are the foundation upon which winning teams are built.

If creating a culture of greatness sounds like a lot of work, it is, but not as much work as dealing with the crises, problems and challenges associated with negative, dysfunctional and sub-par cultures. While most organizations waste a lot of time putting out fires you can spend your time building a great organization that rises above the competition.

How do you create a culture of greatness in your organization? 

this was previously released on Jon’s newsletter.


Jon Gordon

 Jon Gordon’s best-selling books and talks have inspired readers and audiences around the world. His principles have been put to the test by numerous NFL, NBA, and college coaches and teams, Fortune 500 companies, school districts, hospitals and non-profits. He is the author of The Wall Street Journal bestseller The Energy Bus, The No Complaining Rule, Training Camp, The Shark and The Goldfish, Soup: A Recipe to Nourish Your Team and Culture, and his latest book The Seed: Finding Purpose and Happiness in Life and Work. Jon and his tips have been featured on The Today Show, CNN, Fox and Friends and in numerous magazines and newspapers. His clients include The Atlanta Falcons, Campbell Soup, Wells Fargo, State Farm, Novartis, Bayer and more.

When he’s not running through airports or speaking to businesses, hospitals or school leaders, you can find him playing tennis or lacrosse with his wife and two “high energy” children.

Connect with Jon on Twitter & Facebook.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Al Smith November 15, 2011 at 9:20 am

Thanks Jon. Appreciate you allowing me to put this valuable information out for the viewers to read. This sentence is so key;

“A culture of greatness requires that you find the right people that fit your culture.”

So many companies want to hire the so called “smartest” or the people with the nice resume. Companies need to find out more about the persons “Character”, outlook, optimism, etc. and like you say “a good fit”. Recent studies have shown that this is a much better way to get the right people on your company Bus. “The Energy Bus” and all your books really help with this. Thanks again Jon. Always appreciate your knowledge and wisdom.

Take CARE.



Kaarina Dillabough November 15, 2011 at 11:55 am

Jon, I really love this post because it speaks to the fundamental axiom that I share with clients when they are hiring. I always say: hire for the “right stuff”…you can teach the rest. When we don’t hire for the “right stuff” as it pertains to the culture, it doesn’t matter how skilled the person is, they can become the very weak link in the chain.

I also love your line “Then you coach them, develop them, mentor them, train them and empower them to do what they do best.” I’m particularly honed in on the “empower them” part, as many businesses do the opposite: they dis-empower the very people who should have a level of responsibility and authority commensurate with their role. Employers often give responsibility without authority.

And so many employers won’t make the investment in their employees, afraid they will lose them (and they will in some cases: nature of the game) or they simply see it as an expense line rather than the investment that it is.

My organization is an organization of one, but I work with companies to underscore the vital importance of hiring for the “right stuff”. Great post Jon, and thanks Al for bringing a wealth of expertise to your series. Cheers! Kaarina
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