Shaping culture through inaction

I follow Dan Rockwell on twitter. His handle is @leadershipfreak and he tweets quite a bit of good leadership content. If you don't follow him, I recommend you give him a look.

Dan sent a tweet out about how reinforcing behaviors builds organizational culture.
I agree with the tweet. I retweeted it. 

It got me thinking. It is not only the things we reward that shape culture, but the things we allow. Perhaps the easiest way to shape a culture is to do nothing at all.

When a rockstar employee yells at, denigrates, or refuses to help teammates and you let it slide because the rockstar is valuable, you are shaping a culture. When a teammate tells a racist or sexist joke and you say nothing because nobody present is a member of the target group, you are shaping a culture. When an executive abuses power, when a coworker engages in gossip, when a team cuts corners to make deadlines and you decide it isn't your problem, you are shaping a culture.

What appears to be inaction is still an action.