Vince Lombardi, the legendary Green Bay Packers football coach, once famously stated "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." The recent events with several football players and the subsequent decisions made by executives in the NFL seem to underscore this culture of winning at costs. Bad behavior has become tolerable, so long as a player can contribute to winning. I am a big NFL fan, but as we are now seeing, this type of culture will eventually catch up with any organization.
Lombardi had many other great quotes on winning, but he also once remarked, "Morally, the life of the organization must be of exemplary nature. This is one phase where the organization must not have criticism." Despite his emphasis on winning, Lombardi also believed in discipline. Were he alive today he would likely prefer that more attention be given to his quote on ensuring moral standards.
When you think about players in the NFL--or employees in any organization--the job consists of "What" you do and "How" you do it. Critically, both of these matter. It's easy to focus on the what because it shows up quickly, but the how is what matters for the long term. Culture is one of these how elements and as a leader you set the tone and example. If you have or are building a business, creating the right organizational culture is one of the most important things you will do. Your company can use its culture as its true north and with a strong positive culture your will find greater:
Fit. People of similar beliefs and values naturally gravitate to one another. Similarly, you will find it easier to attract top talent employees that share the same values as your organization.
Trust. When you are clear on what you stand for, people--employees and customers--will know what you believe in. Through consistently delivering on this commitment you will gain and keep their trust and support.
Clarity. In the absence of a clear culture people are not sure what to expect, creating role confusion. A clear culture removes uncertainty and provides guiding principles to follow with decision-making.
Performance. Organizations with strong cultures perform up to 30% better than their counterparts. Thus, the how actually strongly influences the what (i.e., performance).
Sustainability. When embedded strongly within an organization, culture will stand the test of time. It is a sustainable advantage that can outlast your current core product or service, which can change and evolve more over time.
Engagement. Employees are more engaged when they understand and are committed to the organizational culture. This again spreads broader than employees, and applies to customer brand loyalty towards companies that align with their own values.