At various points, I have shared my beliefs around culture, and this is a biggie for me – I’m not talking about kum-ba-yah, I’m talking about getting real. For some of you, authenticity and vulnerability can feel scary, but there’s a knack to cultivating a cultural sweet spot. I, however, believe we should be more fearful of unintentionally fostering inauthentic and artificially harmonious cultures void of trust. That’s something we all should be terrified of and losing sleep over. It’s tragic to see so many corporate cultures cultivating these sterile, whisper mills, filled with ego driven, self-serving, politically correct, dog-eat-dog players, who look the part, say all of the right things at the right time and mean none of it. Even scarier, it’s all built on a feeble foundation void of trust and filled with tippy-toe walkers. Yikes!
These types of environments stifle and frustrate people, certainly not bringing out their best selves, ownership mindsets or their best ideas. I happen to also believe these same types of environments have greatly contributed to workplace harassment, stress claims and to the extreme, even led to workplace violence. I’m of the belief that most people see through all of it; they’re just playing the survival game, all-the-while shaking their heads at corporate slogans about social consciousness and claims of being the best places to work. For them it feels downright deceitful. Or when a business invests time and money into crafting a spectacularly written vision and mission statement, but nobody’s walking the talk. Guess what? That’s our mirror as executives. #OurCultureOurMirror #PuttingOnAirs
I believe it is our responsibility to cultivate authentic environments, free of fear, where we get to teach people how to leverage conflict as a strength and reward respectfully productive, passionate debates. Now I am not advocating for extremes or dropping f*bombs at work, but don’t be too quick to dismiss the opportunity to explore what might be possible if we taught people how to engage in, as Steve Jobs has described, having wonderful arguments – where the best ideas have a shot at being shared. Where we reward win-win #Musketeering and don’t tolerate win-lose behaviors #PlankWalkers. If it’s to be it’s up to us as executives.
It’s not easy…I also believe that nothing worth fighting for comes easy. It takes relentless commitment, focus and constant reminders. We not only have to walk our talk, but we must also be manically committed to what we value and intentional and accountable for the cultures we create or tolerate. #OurShipOurCrew #OurResponsibility #ItsanEverydayThing
So leaders, what type of culture have you created?
How’s it working for you?
What would you change if you could?