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article imageCorporate Culture: Why it matters now more than ever

According to corporate culture experts, for companies that are growing, a positive corporate culture is vital to continued growth and success.
For many decades, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Edgar H. Schein has been considered the leading expert in all matters concerning organizational culture. Schein published his first book on the subject, Leadership and Organizational Culture, in 1985 and it is now in its fourth edition.
Almost 30 years ago, Schein, Sloan Fellows Professor of Management Emeritus at the Sloan School of Management at MIT, defined and began analyzing organizational culture. He describes how leadership and culture are intertwined, and emphasizes the role organizational culture plays in successful and faltering organizations.
At its heart, according to Schein, “Culture can be thought of as the foundation of the social order that we live in and of the rules we abide by.” Understanding the dynamics of culture helps to resolve communication problems, mitigate resistance to change, and create more effective, successful organizations.
The concept of organizational culture when applied to the private sector is often called “corporate culture.” As noted in The Fast Track, “Corporate culture is the personality of a company and it can’t be faked.” Elements of culture include management techniques, shared values and mission, work ethic, and daily work practices and its importance cannot be overstated. In fact, Business Insider points out that “workplace culture is more important than anything else.”
Similarly, according to recent research by, as corporations grow and acquire more employees, cultivating a corporate culture that keeps employees happy and employed with your organization has grown increasingly important.
One company that has experienced significant growth is Mister Car Wash. The company traces its history back to 1969 when the first Mister Car Wash was opened in Houston, Texas. Currently based out of Tucson, Arizona, the company operates 134 car washes and 32 lube centers serving 14 states, and the company employs nearly 5,000 men and women.
Cultivating a corporate culture that keeps employees happy and employed at Mister Car Wash is emphasized by its belief “that hard work pays off and we pride ourselves on giving our team the tools they need to climb the ladder of success.” In fact, 80 percent of Mister Car Wash managers began on the front lines washing cars and, “with a bit of elbow grease and a lot of determination, worked their way into management positions.”
Creating a positive culture with committed employees helps companies stay competitive because the combination of the two engenders excellent customer service resulting in revenue for the company.
“We do everything from opening the doors for customers, to never being pushy with how we’re interacting, and we’re all about service with a smile,” said John Lai, CEO of Mister Car Wash. “A clean, shiny, dry car fast - and with a smile - is our deliverable, but what we’re really all about is making people shine – our customers and our employees.”
Top-notch service, along with a corporate philosophy of treating team members and each person that drives up to their washes with respect, has resulted in Mister Car Wash serving “nearly three million customers annually, with 150,000 new guests joining the Mister Car Wash experience each month.”
Mister Car Wash customers can expect this experience every time they go to a car wash or lube center. According to Lai, “Bringing consistency to our customer service across the nation is of paramount importance to us. It is really what we feel helps to set us apart from other car washes out there.
Companies that are growing are encouraged to not lose sight of what made their workplace culture successful in the first place. A positive corporate culture is vital to continued growth and success.
Lai leads the organizational vision at Mister Car Wash and ensures that the organization will not lose sight of the daily work practices, values and mission that have made it successful. “We are a professional organization, and through their everyday interactions with Mister Car Wash, customers know they’re dealing with a real, dedicated, professional brand they can trust,” said Lai.
Leaders of growing, successful companies, like Mister Car Wash, understand that workplace culture is more important than anything else. They are dedicated to the ongoing cultivation of a corporate culture that keeps employees and customers happy.
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