In a SmartBlog on Leadership article, S. Chris Edmonds writes that the stories shared in your company can positively or negatively impact your company’s culture depending on the message of the story. He writes that company principals need to be knowledgeable of what stories are passed around at the company and the message they may be sending to employees.

Edmonds cites two examples of this. In the first case, an employee discovers a shipment didn’t go out on time and decides to overnight the package so it will reach the customer only a day late, rather than 2 or 3 days late. This employee is then celebrated and given a gift card for her employee service mindset.

The message this sends to employees is when you miss a deadline and engage in a “heroic (and expensive) recovery, you’ll be celebrated,” Edmonds writes, which may not be the kind of culture you want to reinforce in your company.

In the second case, a company exceeded profitability and allowed each employee to donate money to the charity of their choice. One employee donates the money to an animal shelter and as he presents the money to the shelter, he finds out the shelter had been having a cashflow problem and would have run out of money to feed and take care of the animals without the employee’s contribution.

This story was also shared and celebrated throughout the company. According to Edmonds, this type of story sends a positive message that the employees’ hard work allows them to contribute to and support their community.

“Leaders can be proactive about stories they tell,” Edmunds writes. “They can discover stories of desired values and behaviors, and tell those often.”

 Read the full story here.