7 Signs Your Culture is Sick

I don’t want to be a pessimist, but I think there’s more sickness in organizational cultures than health.

Healthy organizational culture results from focused attention.

Sick cultures indicate distraction and neglect.

the spotlight points to performance not position in healthy organizations.png

7 signs your culture is sick:

  1. Isolation prevails. Leaders and employees work in silos.
  2. CYA dominates. The first thing people think about when something goes wrong is how to cover their asses. CYA translates into, “Who can we blame?”
  3. Gravy stays at the top. Leaders keep the good jobs for themselves and delegate crap to everyone else.
  4. Gossip is endorsed. I’ll never forget a leader endorsing the practice of talking about people behind their back under the guise of confidentiality.
  5. Secrets abound. Organizations that need secrets have too many inequities.
  6. Politicians prevail. When brown-nosers, butt kissers, and credit-stealers prevail, self-serving and mediocrity wins.
  7. Developing people is an inconvenience.

7 signs your culture is healthy:

  1. Organizational success trumps personal success. Team members commit to do what’s best for their team and organization. It’s time to leave if what’s best for the organization isn’t also good for you.
  2. Elephants dance. Healthy cultures discuss tough issues with optimism, toughness, and kindness.
  3. Diversity abounds. Cross-functional teams, diverse age groups, and the presence of female participants is expected and normal.
  4. Open minds win. Alternatives are invited, honored, and explored. Teams committed to one solution can’t adapt as they go.
  5. Leaders lift others. The spotlight points to performance not position in healthy organizations.
  6. People know and respect each other’s strengths. One of the best things you can do for your team is take the Clifton Strengthsfinder and publicly discuss results.
  7. Everyone knows what matters. Boldness requires confidence. Confidence is born in knowledge of and alignment with mission and vision.

Bonus: Forgiveness fuels innovation in healthy organizations. Mistakes are learning opportunities. Innovation requires failure.

Leadership challenge: Make healthy culture a leadership priority.

What are the symptoms of a sick organizational culture?

What are the signs an organizational culture is healthy?