"Culture" has become such a buzz word surrounding the workplace. People expect to see something on the company's website about it. They ask current employees about it. They ask about it in interviews. The fact is, it's a big deal. It might be THE big deal of any organization. What we've learned about it is that it's much more than flexible work hours & bean bag chairs in the breakroom.
It's about "the way we do things around here". The way this is answered can be profoundly revealing.
Why should I care?
What the organization puts out into the world through its people, products & customer service attracts those who believe what the company believes. Otherwise known as the law of attraction. To stay in business you need customers. Instead of customers wouldn't you like to have passionate ambassadors?
In a Gallup poll from February 2021, 64% of employees responded some degree of disengagement at work. While this trend is going in the right direction, 6 out 10 is still disappointing. Engagement can increase when the environment supports employees growth, positive relationships, the opportunity to work inside strengths & interests, and provides clarity of role(s) around a common purpose.
Manageable retention creates necessary stability for the team. Over time this can lead to increased psychological safety as members become more comfortable taking risks with one another. In this way the team pursues new ideas, runs experiments, learns faster & becomes agile to stay viable.
All these can be influenced by employees from all responsibility levels when leadership is expected everywhere!
High & Low Performance Cultures
Check out how NextJump (a company dedicated to changing workplace culture) compares these performance signals...
- Victim Mindset (everything is impossible, why bother)
- Death by 1,000 Paper Cuts (little things go wrong all the time)
- No Gas (not my job, doing minimum required)
- Lying, Hiding, Faking (walking on eggshells)
- Bureaucracy (too many rules)
- Tolerating Badness (low expectations of self or others)
- Obsession of short-term Results
- Everything is "Mission" Critical
- Fear of Failure
- Solo Stars
- Arrogance & Insecurity
- Get Sh*t Done (teams swarm to get things done)
- Gas (high effort, lots of care)
- NO Lying, Hiding, Faking (err on informing, sharing info)
- Trust (treating people like adults)
- Brilliant with the Basics (high expectations of self & others)
- Playing the Long Game
- Space to Fail / Practice Ground
- Investment in Loss
- Comradery (taking care of others)
- Balance of Confidence & Humility
- What kind of culture exists where you work?
- Is the organization realizing the one that's desired?
- Do you have strategies to help move toward your desired culture?
Example 4-Piece Puzzle
Foster a culture of collaboration & change acceptance through proactive communication & inclusion.
Support a capable, engaged & responsible team.
Advance our business model through the transparent management of resources & revenue.
Deliver a premier customer experience in every way by providing a relevant & vital benefit to their lives.
Each category starts with "our" which places the responsibility on all team members. As powerful as they might seem, these statements are just words on a poster without intentional action behind them from everyone. Check out how the four parts of this puzzle support one another. You can't have collaboration without an engaged team. You won't be trustworthy to customers without relevance to their lives. How do you see these fitting together to support one another?
Does the puzzle where you work fit together or are there missing pieces?
What are you doing to help the organization find the missing piece?
You may not be able to change the structure of the organization but you can do a whole lot for how it feels to work there! Life is short, don't you want to work somewhere awesome?