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What's sacred and what's taboo in your workplace culture? Edited

Melody Stone Atlassian Team Jul 16, 2018



We've been thinking a lot about company culture and how we can help teams build healthy, thriving spaces to produce their best work. 

We spoke with organizational culture expert and Stanford professor Robert Sutton about it for our Culture Changers series over on the Stride blog, and now we want to hear from you!

We want to know, what does your workplace deem sacred? What's taboo? 

What practices and behaviors are elevated and which behaviors or discouraged? 



2 answers

After some changeover of staff in the last year we have been working hard to create some new values and culture for long-term organizational health. We are a smaller company, about 16 employees so that factors into our goals.

Taboo: partisan political rants or picking on a specific politician, but occasionally we will talk about a social, environmental or economic issue. Anything that can be construed as sexual harassment, sexist or racist. Religion rarely comes up and is another "danger zone". 

Sacred: showing up on time, being honest and transparent, treating each other as well or better than we do our clients. Documenting processes, procedures and decisions.

Elevated behavior: collaboration, self-study and continuous learning, volunteering on projects that aren't your responsibility but you want to help the team, being okay with saying "I don't know the answer, can someone help me?", flatter hierarchal structure for flexibility.  

Discouraged behavior: 

Passive-aggressiveness in any way, drama and manipulation, micro-managing, "one-person" islands, whining (share what is going on but quickly focus on paths to a solution). 

Melody Stone Atlassian Team Jul 16, 2018

Love this! Thanks for sharing your insights. 

I really like that this article comes at a time when we are pushing our company culture to the public eye.  Company culture is not that difficult to get right when everyone knows their  roles and you already have strong values and a good vision.  It is important to understand that you are working with people and management is exactly that, you manage people & everyone is different.



  • Failing on Service Levels
  • Inferior quality products
    • We have a saying that we use whenever someone does something that we deem inferior, we normally remind them that we are not the computer shop around the corner)
  • Disruptive behaviour (all companies have a different understanding of this).  Disruption has been something that has plagued us in previous years.
  • Having a vast range of clients you run the risk of treating one client as "smaller" or "less important" than others.  This is something that we are heavily passionate about as we love to see our clients Grow, irrespective of size, with that said we will turn clients away that we know we cannot truly assist (not without giving them advice first).

Sacred (this is actually our vision and values)

  • At RRZ Innovations we strongly believe in creating a world that is simple and accessible by disrupting the perceived limitations that exist.
  • We strive to be part of the solution and stimulate innovation by cross-pollinating great minds towards common goals.
  • We believe in peoples’ raw ability over education
  • We do not allow circumstances to dictate who we are and we uphold ourselves with high integrity.
  • We are honest and transparent enough to admit when we are wrong but courageous enough to change.
  • We win as a team and we lose as a team.
  • Whilst we are creators, innovators and kick ass developers, we are still fun, quirky nerds changing the world by settling for nothing less than extraordinary!

We are now employing a casual culture at RRZ, staff really enjoy that work is a comfortable innovative environment where you can express yourself and really do things that matter.

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