4 MORE signs of a Positive Culture

Following on from last weeks post 4 signs of Positive Workplace Culture,  here are 4 MORE signs to look for:

1.  Leadership success is open, discussed and actively planned for 

Leaders are not fearful of others succeeding.  In fact, they encourage it.  They know that a part of their role is to see others exceed their own capabilities and their own position.  They know that when another person excels beyond them, they are truly leading.   Fear is not present in this situation.
What you can DO.
The first thing you can do is to read about top leaders and the habits they have.  One of them is to work on the skills and knowledge of their subordinates and to plan for their own succession.  They trust that new opportunities will open up for them and they help other leaders to succeed.  They groom people to take over their role as quickly as possible.   This gets seen and acknowledged.   Leaders who practice this principle always excel, grow and move up the ranks.   Leaders who hold on tightly to their position and their knowledge get left behind and they get stuck.

Step 1 – create a skills and knowledge matrix for your own role.
Step 2 – share that information with others who are interested in moving into your role.
Step 3 – create a plan for how you will help these people.
Step 4 – Make a plan for YOUR next role – and get active with this plan.

2. Position and Level is inconsequential to productivity.  People communicate and influence Up Down and Sideways!

If your environment is classically hierarchical – then chances are good that your culture will not be as positive as it can be.  When status of position becomes more important and more in focus than productivity, then people will sense this.

What you can DO:

Bring this out into the open and discuss the pros and cons of having a hierarchy.  Discuss the reasons why influencing in all directions is a healthy and positive way of behaving in a modern and contemporary organisation.

Take the lead in encouraging your own subordinates to bring proposals to your attention.  Help them learn to create a solid business case for things they believe will improve the business.

Bring these case studies to your own peers and your up-line managers.  Ask them if they are willing to do the same.


3. People have Courageous Conversations

When I hear people say things like:  “Oh – the CEO was in the elevator with me today and I was terrified to look at her!”   Or, “We can’t do that – the Union will get involved and they won’t even understand that we really are acting in the best interests of the people.”   

These are two types of conversations that indicate fear is present.

Things you can DO

1. Be proactive in having conversations.    If you have a union in or around your organisation – go meet with them regularly.  Find out what’s important to them.  Share with them the things you are doing to make this a great place for the people.  Get to know them well – and they will be more likely to listen and be on your side.

2.  Work toward an open door policy.  If you are a leader – speak with everyone often.  If you have leaders above you – encourage them to come and speak with you and your subordinates regularly.  Invite them to team meetings, invite them to share what’s happening in their world and what concerns them.

3.  Investigate how you and others respond to mistakes.   People often have a fear that any mistake will be dealt with harshly.   Create case studies that examine mistakes and explore ways to learn from them.   Make this public – not publicly embarrassing people who have made mistakes – but create ways to show that you do not CANE people who make mistakes, you help them to learn from them.


4. SIGN – Change Is Welcomed and Spoken About Regularly and Positively

There are two sides to the CHANGE COIN.

People are generally upset when change is thrust upon them – especially if the change must happen rapidly or completely without warning – as in, it’s already happened, like it or lump it!

On the other hand – people are generally happy with change they choose themselves.

In our current environment, change is normal, change is constant, change is rapid, change is expected, change readiness and flexibility and resilience are regarded in high esteem.

This must be programmed into the culture.

What you can DO:

1.     Speak about change often.

2.     Add the issue of CHANGE to your agenda at meetings and team gatherings.  If you do Scrums or huddles – then make change a commonly used term and add it to the content of your meetings.

3.     Engage in Resilience Training.  Get everyone used to the idea that change is good.  Change is always a part of who we are, what we do, and how we do things around here.   Make it known that we hire for people who enjoy and embrace change.   Help them to understand that change is a part of our organisational DNA.  It’s how we roll!

4.     Find and employ strategies that are linked to change.   These include

a.     Communication about change and what is needed.

b.     Models for change

c.     Decision making strategies for times of change

d.     Ways and means of engaging people in change

e.     Times and ways to celebrate successful change processes

f.       Discussions about what has changed, when it changed, how often it changed, how well it changed and what could be done better for the next round of change.


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