What is good culture? How do you create good culture? There's so much talk around creating a "good work culture", but I see it done so badly (or by default).
Let's talk about the biggest mistakes that people make around creating culture, what a Conscious Leaders' perspective is on what a "good culture" is and what your role as a Conscious Leader has to do with creating a good workplace culture.
Let's start with a wee story: A few years ago I was honoured to work on the branding for a done-for-you social media marketing agency in Australia. I talked extensively with the founder about her values, mission, vision and legacy that she had for her personal life AND her business.
Why both? Because I am of the mind that the best leaders are fulfilling their personal purpose and living out their personal values, visions and missions in their work.
I wanted to make sure that the business that she was starting up was going to be:
Deeply fulfilling and satisfying for her
Be rooted in her values so she could be 100% authentic in her interactions with her team and her clients
Be aligned with her vision, mission and pave her legacy
Make sure her culture was aligned with all of the above.
The best leaders are fulfilling their personal purpose and living out their personal values, visions and missions in their work.
We did this so we could avoid one of the most common mistakes that hinder creating a positive workplace culture:
Without clarity of your business' values, vision, mission and legacy, everyone (including you, the leader) is stabbing in the dark. No one know's what they're working for or towards, or what kind of things are acceptable or not.
Now that the groundwork was done, it was time to get really clear on what kind of culture, the founder wanted to create in her business. This was derived from the values, vision, mission and legacy she had discussed with me before.
We concluded that the kind of culture she wanted to foster in her business, was one based on loving interaction: Where everyone felt welcomed, at home and like a family.
Defining what kind of culture you want to create... helps you to avoid a culture "by default"
Defining what kind of culture you want to create and what that looks like in the workplace helps you to avoid mistake #2:
This mistake is usually only seen when a "bad" culture has been created. Usually a bad culture can be overcome in a small business with good leadership, training and maybe with replacing a few people (yes, that's sometimes necessary!).
But when it comes to a larger workplace, with many people, it becomes harder to change a culture because there are so many people involved. It's not impossible to change a culture (you just need to be willing to put in the time and resources to do it), but it's far easier to have defined your culture from the start and create a positive culture ON PURPOSE, than leave it up to "fate" to decide how your workplace culture evolves.
Defining your culture, will also mean that you will avoid mistake #3:
And this is when culture becomes "bad" because you end up with people who are mismatched to what kind of environment you want to create (which is why clarity right at the start is SO important).
In any case where the culture is "bad" or "toxic" you'll find employees who are dissatisfied, feel unheard and undervalued, there will usually be a higher turnover of employees, and overall less happiness (and therefore less productivity) in the workplace.
Where the culture is "bad" or "toxic" you'll find employees who are dissatisfied, feel unheard and undervalued, there will usually be a higher turnover of employees, and overall less happiness (and therefore less productivity) in the workplace.
Remember - Changing a culture IS possible! You just have to want to do it!
So back to our story. After we had defined the culture for our Founder and her business, I got to developing a "culture training" specifically for her induction of new employees.
The training was EPIC - Smiles all round, enthusiastic nods - Her new employees were genuinely surprised to be receiving a training around culture and how to LIVE that through their work in the business.
One commented that "Culture is so true to my heart - I've seen a business have really good culture and then have it taken over and have not so good culture and just the impact that that business has on lots of people in the corporate environment. To know that you have [culture] as a groundstone to your business makes me know I'm in the right place. I've got nothing but excitement, joy and I love the vibe!"
Which brings us to mistake #4:
It may seem like good culture is something that "just happens" and so it is becomes nothing more than empty words scattered in between induction documents. But this isn't the case. Culture can be deliberately created.
It may seem like good culture is something that "just happens"... But this isn't the case. Culture can be deliberately created.
Having a training for culture, is an important step that gives your new employees a chance to reflect on what your company's values, vision, mission and legacy mean to them and how they can live and embody these in the workplace, through every single interaction they have.
This is what creates a culture! The interactions, the unsaid "rules", the standards, the expectations, the "vibe".
We feel culture through the EXPERIENCE we have with it.
We feel culture through the EXPERIENCE we have with it
And a positive CONSCIOUS Culture is an EXPERIENCE that everyone comes back from and says "that felt good". And I mean everyone - every single employee, every single stakeholder, every single client, every single interaction down to the postman.
A positive CONSCIOUS Culture is an EXPERIENCE that everyone comes back from and says "that felt good".
So BE CLEAR on what kind of culture you want to create, screen your potential employees using this and TRAIN your people to understand how to live this culture in the workplace. It pays off for everyone!
Now a presentation is one thing. But how does a culture TRULY become the experience?
We talked about one aspect, briefly above - every interaction is steeped with the feeling that allows everyone to experience the kind of culture you want to create.
But there is one more very important piece of the puzzle:
The Leader Has To Be Aligned.
A positive, conscious culture, is really only possible if the leaders themselves are aligned with and living (the role model) the culture they promote. This is why I took the time to talk extensively with the founder of the start up I mentioned earlier - I wanted to know what she was really all about. I didn't want her to start riffing off a script taken from the "how to be successful" manual. I wanted to hear what was dear to her heart.
A positive, conscious culture, is really only possible if the leaders themselves are aligned with and living the culture they promote
If you, as the leader is not aligned to or living the culture, it becomes very hard for that culture to live on. As a Conscious Leader, it is part of your job to not only help define and create the culture, but LIVE IT too.
This is where you can really turn up the dial of you influence. What kind of influence DO you want to have on your people? What kind of experience do you want them to have when they're in your presence? What kind of standard do you want to set for them?
As a Conscious Leader, you no doubt, what your people to feel seen, heard and valued. You want to inspire and motivate them to become better people. You want to empower them and their dreams. You want to have them feeling so good in your presence, that they can't help but pass on the "good vibes" to everyone else. You want to teach them how to be a better, more conscious and aware person, who contributes to more joy, more peace and more happiness in the world.
As a Conscious Leader...You want to teach [your people] how to be a better, more conscious and aware person, who contributes to more joy, more peace and more happiness in the world.
Is that about right?
Now, I can't carry on with our story about the founder, because she DID get the support she needed to create the culture she wanted to have in her business. She knew that it was important for everyone to work well together and to understand each other right from the get-go.
But many businesses fall short here. Again they believe that either:
Culture "just happens" and there's nothing you can do to change it (it doesn't have to, and there is!). And/Or;
Culture isn't important enough to get support for (It is - remember happy people = happy workplace = more work satisfaction = more productivity (usually = more profit). This can all be achieved with a great culture plan).
The culture is already so bad, that it can't be fixed (It can - That's when you, as a Conscious Leader can step up and be responsible for this change by being the role model of what you want to create).
There is a FORMULA that can help you create an environment that is life-affirming, positive and even life-changing, for your people.
So, if you haven't already, get support for creating the culture you want in your workplace or business - there is a FORMULA that can help you create an environment that is life-affirming, positive and even life-changing for your people.
So, dear Conscious Leader, maybe it's time to reflect on what are your next steps for creating a better culture where ALL your people benefit?
Have a great rest of your week!
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