A few years ago, I had the privilege of presenting to a group of team members a topic that was inspired by one of my own department’s team members. Stephanie and I had been talking about how to develop more confidence at a lunch we had weeks ago. She asked me if I could address how to have more confidence in the process of building our company’s culture. And that got me thinking…so, put together a presentation that I will be sharing here in a couple of posts.
I have been fascinated by confidence – who has it, how do I get more of it, how to temper it, why it is so important to have it in life, etc.
When thinking about a company’s culture, much of what I have read centers around the organization’s leadership and/or C-suite executives. But I believe a company’s culture can be built and developed by all team members regardless of their position in the company.
You see, there are moments, many moments, that occur where a member of senior leadership are no where to be found. If culture is left primarily to senior management, so many opportunities to build culture will be lost. That is why I want ALL of our team members to own culture-building.
In practical terms, we have all experienced times when we heard/see one team member gossiping about another team member who is not present – they are being talked about behind their back. And more times than not, the comments are not positive.
In THAT moment of observation, what can ANY employee do to turn that situation into a culture-building experience?
From my perspective, culture-building isn’t a mantra that we hear from leadership or see printed and framed on walls. That’s the easy part. Culture-building can be hard, messy, uncomfortable, risky – and it is WORTH IT!
So in the moment when we have to decide how we can build culture during a negative situation, we have 3 choices:
- Do Nothing. Building culture is easy to do. It is also easy NOT to do. And for many people, doing nothing is the easy thing. Say nothing. Just walk away. But this does not build a positive culture.
- Join In. A lot of us, unfortunately, join in on the negative conversation. We “gang up” on the person who is the subject of the gossip. Group gripe takes over. Is this a good thing to bolster your career path? Will the company become stronger with this sort of interaction? NO! There is a better way.
- Promote, Practice. Protect. I believe that every team member has the right and responsibility to do these 3 things.
- Promote. This is where we actively, intentionally promote the very best of our company. At our company, we have a way to give each other a digital “High 5” where we catch someone doing the right thing and then promote culture by sending them a High 5 which goes to that person directly as well as their supervisor. Promoting the culture also means getting involved in the community as a representative of the company. We offer many opportunities to serve in our communities and encourage volunteerism.
- Practice. The best way to promote a company’s culture is to practice it. Be a cheerleader for a project you’re involved in. Get results. Encourage others. Tell a team member that you appreciate them. Send a team member a thank you note on work they’ve been doing. Practicing a company’s culture helps build momentum towards the healthy and the positive.
- Protect. This is hard. I can’t candy-coat it. But this part of culture-building is vitally important and anyone in any position can practice this.
I’ll share more about how to protect your company’s culture in the next post.
Bottom line: your company is worth doing the 3 P’s. Your fellow team members are worth it. Your customers are worth it.