Effective culture is the kind that affects you deeply, and lasts a lifetime.
During a meeting today a co-worker brought up an occasion where they were in a discount retail store (yes, that gigantic discount retailer) early one morning and happened to encounter a group of employees in the middle of a staff meeting. He was very impressed how passionate an employee was as they described to the group the work she had done to increase pencil sales over 150%. Pencils.
I'll admit that I spent a summer working at a different store location for this same discount retail store so I'd been through what my co-worker described. This particular retailer, at the time, gave employees a chance to find products to feature on end-caps to find ways to drive up sales and move inventory. It's a good system and it got run-of-the-mill employees a chance to make a difference and get excited about their involvement. There were things I didn't like about the experience I had working there, but the culture of that retailer left a mark on me. Some good things, some not as good.
The cultures you experience leave an indelible mark on you. If you've worked in an organization with a distinct culture you never forget that the rest of your life. Just like travelling or living abroad - your life is flavored by that culture forever.
How does your organization transfer it's culture on to employees? Is it a good culture? Will it positively impact people for the rest of their life? Very good questions to ask.