One of the things that I keep seeing over and over again in business books, literature and media is the belief in culture. A strong culture can keep organizations alive and thriving by creating a place people want to be. As a friend of mine puts it -" Culture Trumps Strategy".
That begs the next question - why? In order for you to serve shareholders - you have to have well served customers. Well served customers is only created by focusing on well served employees.
The best and most recognized organizations that have sustained performance have a common theme - cultures that can't be replicated by competitors. Southwest, Intel and Wegmans have shown the business world that their culture is what drives their performance. If it so easy - why don't more people work on their culture? Because it is hard.
There has to be a long term focus of learning and investing in people to make cultures that drive performance. There also has to be some moral purpose of an organization to get people focused in a common direction.
Short term gains can be had by any company by cutting costs or stimulating revenue - but strong cultures build teams that overcome the temporary and shiny competitors that run along their path. Southwest has been in business for 35 years and through deregulation, 9/11 and other major events - they have retained a culture that has turned consistent profits and growth.
Look at he best run companies in the world (Not the biggest) - and you will see cultures that can't be replicated driving their performance.