Why Culture Matters — Especially Now

July 10, 2020



Why Culture Matters — Especially Now

Why Culture Matters — Especially Now

Jey Van-Sharp, Principal at MyÜberLife, is an expert on culture. Jey discusses our many cultures as fundamental expressions of how we understand the world and each other. He explains why we are experiencing cultural dissonance and discomfort right now and how to step outside our own cultural codes. Jey offers insights into how companies and brands can make important cultural shifts.


[00:47] The role of empathy within our culture.

[01:18] Why culture’s core role becomes more evident during times of uncertainty.

[02:38] How do you define corporate culture?

[04:33] In unsettled conditions, culture needs to be emphasized, how can companies best focus on culture?

[05:19] We are each born into multiple cultures as social creatures.

[06:34] People try to create dominance of one culture over another.

[07:38] Why we are experiencing cultural dissonance now.

[08:30] How a company can create a sense of community and build a strong culture.

[09:15] What happens when a company, its employees and customers do not have aligned cultural values.

[10:20] Why youth culture is the most dominant culture.

[10:48] Historical channels of information presented conventional wisdoms pretending to be truths.

[11:49] How can brands fill in cultural texture for consumers with limited current options.

[13:01] Once you understand a community, then you can serve them.

[14:24] The value of empathetic listening.

[14:45] The effect of operating from the standpoint that everyone has value.

[15:49] Learning the ‘code’ of the dominant culture. Being a ‘code switcher’ to be able to see value.

[17:47] How to generate shifts to change culture—view your company as a platform of empowerment.

17[] Bring in additional voices, have authentic conversations, listen to and train them.
[19:53] The unwithering of old ideologies.

[21:00] When private enterprise and people team up, change happens very quickly.

[21:17] The aim is not for comfort. The aim is for understanding and truth.

[23:23] Is age a demographic or a mindset? Create new archetypes.

[24:26] The fourth branch of American government is the media and the fifth branch is corporate marketing.

[26:35] Cross communication is critical, not just of races, but also genders and age ranges so as to not miss out on understanding and opportunities.

[28:15] We have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable

[29:42] With continued economic strain and ongoing uncertainty, this is the moment for culture to bring us together.

[30:35] The consequence of having a culture of dismissal, dominance, and superiority.

[31:57] Crafting the new normal with empathy and human values.

[32:49] We are all scared human beings in awe of this reality and the best leaders will guide us through the uncertainty.

[34:59] Recognize the history of the world we live and the people within it.

[35:32] When you see a source of information, try a counter-factual simulation: try and disprove your assumptions.

[37:11] As executives, business people, corporations, and brands, we are part of the narrative of equality and justice.

[38:03] Memes are part of memories, passed down through culture, oral stories, statues, language and frameworks.

[38:41] We need to practice rational empathy—less academia, less rational thought, more feeling and understanding.

[39:39] You have to incentivize feelings.

IMMEDIATE ACTION TIP: Question what you know. Try to disprove your own assumptions. Try not to judge. Get into the habit of inquiry. Operate from a place of humility.


“Culture beats strategy. For me, culture is the memories, value system, the beliefs, the shared goals, the fears, the ideology, mythology that exists within each community of people.”

“Don’t try to speak on the behalf of people you don’t understand. Bring those people in. Lend them your platform.”

“Brands and private enterprise play a big role. When private enterprise and the people team up, change happens very quickly.”

“Get interested in the world again, read about the world, question everything that you know.”

“Every day is a brand new day to operate from a place of complete humility, complete awe, complete transparency, complete authenticity.”