The Secret to a Healthy Workplace Culture
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Leave a comment on this guest post by William Vanderbloemen to become eligible to win one of TWENTY complimentary copies of Culture Wins: The Roadmap to an Irresistible Work Culture.
*International winners will receive electronic versions.
Ask any successful business leader the secret to their team’s success and chances are a great workplace culture is at the root of it.
Strategy is great. Having talented people is a must. But real wins come when culture is working.
So, how do you build a healthy and strong workplace culture? By making it a priority.
While companies may win awards for their culture, from my work in executive search, I see that developing a healthy workplace culture is no simple task.
Fostering a great place to work and play is intentional.
Here’s how you can do it:
Know how one another ticks.
As an example, the Wheel of Culture (Image) is a massive poster on an open wall in the middle of our office, which shows where each of our staff members sits on our communications wheel. We use a personality assessment tool called Insights that places you on the wheel based on your communications preferences.
We also have Lego blocks on our desk that remind team members of each person’s unique communication style.
We’ve found this empowers our team with self-awareness so they know how to improve their own communication blind spots.
Make it a part of your Org. Chart.
Make culture a priority by creating a position for it.
This is a team member who spends much of his or her job intentionally infusing your desired culture through every part of the company. This person coordinates your Culture Team, which includes a culture ambassador from each company department, and holds monthly culture events that point back to company values.
Having someone who owns the responsibility of infusing culture into every part of your company can be a game changer for your organization.
When culture is bad, no matter how talented the team or great the strategy, a team will never reach its potential. Because in good or bad, culture is the trump card that determines your team’s outcome.
How might leaders develop healthy work-place culture?
About William Vanderbloemen
William Vanderbloemen is an entrepreneur, pastor, speaker, author, and CEO/Founder of Vanderbloemen Search Group (VSG), an executive search firm that helps organizations find their key staff. VSG has been named four and three times to the top of Entrepreneur.com’s Top Company Cultures list of small businesses and Houston Business Journal Best Place To Work list, respectively. VSG recently was named to Houstonia’s 2017 Best Places to Work list and Forbes’ 2017 list of America’s Top Executive Recruiting Firms.
Prior to his work in executive search, William led growth and innovation in several churches, including Houston’s oldest congregation, the First Presbyterian Church of Houston. William is a regular contributor to Forbes and Fortune.
His latest book is Culture Wins: The Roadmap to an Irresistible Work Culture. William holds degrees from Wake Forest University and Princeton Theological Seminary.
Awesome post. Can’t wait to read this book. Working in a school environment this is very tricky because of tenure. Sometimes there is a lack of intrinsic motivation due to complacency. I work with a lot of talented professionals yet for some reason I can’t seem to shake the cloud of negativity. I follow a lot of Dan’s advice to focus on those who are the changemakers but it can be tough to shake. Looking forward to implementing some of the techniques in this book to help build a better culture .
It’s amazing to me how many of my clients will tolerate a culture of negativity and fear. And I’m blessed to help them find their way out – often by them becoming the changemakers! Intrigued to read your findings and secrets!
Thanks for sharing!
can’t wait to read it!
I wholeheartedly agree!
“When culture is bad, no matter how talented the team or great the strategy, a team will never reach its potential. Because in good or bad, culture is the trump card that determines your team’s outcome.”
No matter which organization I have ever been part, this holds true.
Totally agree that we need to make workplace culture a priority by devoting time effort and energy towards developing it in a positive direction. Think it would be a good idea to add this as a regular agenda item to our staff meetings to encourage discussion, to consider where we are in terms of our culture, where we are going, and how the journey is progressing. This would also be a good chance to share success stories as well… Thanks for the post!!
I don’t know how you can force-fit a good culture into one that’s not good. The culture of the organization is formed by the leaders’ integrity and heart, or lack thereof. Leaders who do the right thing even when it’s not convenient and care about employees as individuals and not just cogs in the machine form a healthy culture organically. Leaders who only care about the bottom line get what they deserve.
Thank you for this Post. I really resonated with the piece on making it part of the organization. In my organization we designed a Climate Committee. It is comprised of a vertical slice of the agency and is solely responsible for developing and maintaining responses to our culture!
I could not agree more that culture is a vital piece to any organizations success
Thank you again for a great Post.
First, love the Insights tool. Worked through that with a previous employer. It was tremendously insightful in helping everyone learn better how to work together. Second, culture is hard to shape and maintain. Culture evolves and often devolves when there is a lack of attention paid to it by senior leaders. Building and maintaining a healthy culture is really hard work. Very worthwhile and very important, but not easy.
Our church has benefitted a lot of Vanderbloeman’s work, specifically his book next. Thanks for this post!
Based on a prior post from Dan we spent the day yesterday in our staff meeting talking about culture. One major take away was that it is all of our responsibility to promote and protect the culture we create. Culture is something that we must do, each of us. Culture is action, and action produces results.
as a Leader/Manager live by this example: Don’t Lie, Don’t Undermine, Don’t Micro-Manage.
always looking for ways to improve our work culture… ways to infuse positivity and purpose into our everyday work lives!
This is so important to every work group but is often where folks get stuck and need help to fix the culture. This book sounds like a great resource!
I love the Wheel of culture
I would be interested in any information in the book that might help someone in a lower-leadership position to infuse positivity into a very toxic work culture.
I would love to read this book. I believe I would be able to incorporate some of William’s thoughts into my day and this would help me in my leadership skills.
I would very much like a copy of this book. I believe that we have a great culture, but want to do everything in my power to help it stay that way. Learning is never-ending…..
Part of my responsibilities is to infuse our mission, vision, values into our staff and all we do across our campus however if the foundation of culture isn’t solid what I say and do can easily be negated by what is “really” going on. Having a Culture Team sounds great because building and refining culture is so important — would appreciate learning how to do it more effectively.
Culture transition has held us back from our full potential for way too long. I hope I can get a copy of this book VERY SOON!
I’ve heard, and read, that “Culture eats Strategy for lunch any time.” Hard to disagree with this statement. One thing a leader can do to build culture is by living it, demonstrating it, and serving as an example to the organization. For instance, if the leader preaches “servant leadership” as a governing value, but doesn’t demonstrate it, people will notice his/her actions. People. want to know that leaders will “live” the culture beyond vision or mission statements, swags, and other symbols.
I always enjoy these posts. They are very insightful for us administrations who want to make school better.
Culture is key to make your organization function properly.
Love the topic, it is my passion. I believe leaders must begin with the overarching Mission , Vision and Value statements of the organization and make certain their actions exemplify the mantra. I also believe the first question for an action and inaction should be, does this support the culture and is this in alignment with how the organization states how it will operate.
Every company can improve the culture in their workplace! I think there are too many managers who believe adding goodies improves the culture…it doesn’t!
Thank you for an excellent post – and a pertinent book!
Culture is not something we do or put on it is part of who we are. It originates out of Core Values and becomes the basis for evaluating all areas of of our organization. It also includes everyone in your organization understanding the Mission, Vision, Hedge Hog, BHAGG, what defines your philosophy of leadership and management along with understanding what your Brand Promise is. This information is captured on “One Page” and is integrated into our daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly processes.
Totally agree Steve. I’m curious what insights the book can lend to how we steer a culture that is not quite what we want?
So true that “when culture is bad, no matter how talented the team or great the strategy, a team will never reach its potential.” In a bad culture, no one wants to help each other out; they’ve been knocked down or not listened to one too many times to care any more about being part of the team. They want to come to work, do THEIR job, and go home. However, being optimistic, with the right training or exposure to the right people, the Wheel of Culture could help turn such a culture around. (Also I love the Lego idea! Must be color coded?)
The wheel, and the attention paid to communication styles, is an interesting concept. I’ve worked in a Strengths Finder organization, which promotes a similar (but not quite the same) outcome.
An organization must be intentional about developing a healthy culture, and you can’t get much more intentional than the Culture Coordinator position, culture teams, and culture ambassadors.
One thing I’ve also found is that consistency (leadership actions, policy, etc.) is key to developing a culture. Organizational culture is highly dependent on expectations, and knowing what to expect day in and day out from your leaders sets that expectation.
Culture work MUST start with leaders
This book sounds amazing! As one who tries at the low level at which I work to be culture transformer, I would love to learn and improve personally in this area.
This sounds like the perfect book for me! I work in a school that is in need of cultural improvement. Looking forward to sharing this resource with my colleagues.
Culture must be passed on. Many of my coworkers are based throughout the country in satellite offices. I see our Corporate Headquarters trying to promote and share what they want our culture to be. It is impressive and what I would love to believe in. Unfortunately, sometimes middle management and direct supervisors can put an immediate halt on this based on poor leadership skills, jealousy and negativity, not promoting or allowing a great culture to grow. Great article!
Love this quote — “So, how do you build a healthy and strong workplace culture? By making it a priority.” It’s easy to “just let culture happen.” Building a healthy culture (healthy being the key word) takes intentional, deliberate thought and action. It needs to be a priority. Thanks for the reminder…..
Our company went through a process called emergenetics to map our personalities and communication preferences. I had every ounce of red (PEOPLE) in a company of green (Technical).
They needed me and rejected my ideas. I left. They went out of business. Great article.
This post is fantasitic! I love concept of posting the teams communication styles. Culture is what keeps it all together. It helps to bring in and retain great talent! This looks like a wonderful book and I would love to have a copy to read! Thank you for sharing!
Culture is so important – can make or break an organization. Thank you for this post!
Love reading your articles everyday and the insight they provide, thank you for sharing. Leaders lead by example and help to create the culture of the organization. Organizations with a strong culture often times have very little turnover and / or recruiting issues. Keep up the good work!
Culture is king over everything else. Hire for culture because nearly everything else can be taught.
So I definitely think it makes things easier overall when the top down allows for a great working culture environment. However, I think it does not always need to start from the top, or even go to the top in certain situations. I work with a team of anywhere from 10-20 people for the majority of my time, my boss is not as involved with the team as I am. He gives his orders and his end state, but I handle the communication, delegation, decisions, process, etc. within the team and the members I have.
He and I definitely have different leadership qualities. While he is a do as I say, I am more of a teach and learn as we go (especially when it involves tasks that some of my team members have never done before, or done rarely). I allow for open communication while my boss does not.
Even though when dealing a ‘top’ that does not foster said environment, it is still achievable at different levels.
But at the end of the day, as stated above, it is much easier and better for the long run when the top down all are on the same page and they allow a great working environment.
How can you influence culture from the rank and file? Does it have to come from the top?
At our organization we have Culture Teams made of staff from across the organization at various levels.
Each team identified an area that they believed would have a positive impact on the culture if it were to be actively addressed.
These teams have been tasked with generating ideas and developing these ideas into initiatives that can be executed – they have the full support of senior management.
All team participants volunteered – none of them were assigned to a team which I believe has been a key success factor!
As someone not on one of teams it’s been pretty cool to hear and see what they have been doing and it’s definitely positively impacting our culture!
Our organization has made huge strides at making the culture a priority. We’ve made progress, but still have a ways to go. I’m definitely interested in reading the book to see what else we could do. Thanks for a great post!
This is a great post. I have been working to create and maintain a great culture at my school! I have learned that you are never “there”! You can’t say, “Hey! We did it. We have a great culture.” and do nothing more with it. It has to be a constant, day by day, intentional event that leaders focus on.
Nothing beats having a good culture- without it the team slowly drifts apart into toxicity or complacency.
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast”-Drucker. Always learning as a leader and would love to read more about Culture for our organization. We are focusing on Pride and Joy in Work on our strategic plan and we continue to learn about what that means everyday.
My team and I came together to identify a “team goal” this year that centers around our culture. I challenged them to identify the actions THEY can take to help enhance our culture. The entire organization plays a role in culture and leadership needs to know what employees want in a culture in order to support it.
Creating a positive corporate culture can be a tricky proposition. We created a Values Committee a couple of years ago that focused on having everyone truly understand and live our values. We created different activities and events to highlight those values and show how they were related to our everyday work life. However, without a total buy-in by the heads of all Programs, it hasn’t achieved what we want to…..yet. Our Committee members represented almost all of our Programs and locations, and included job titles from direct support to Director — but we have not gained the traction we desired. We’ve done communication assessments with our leadership teams, but didn’t think to post, and keep posted, till everyone understands how to make progress with each individual in a way that makes sense to them. I like the idea of making a formal function called “Ambassador’ and think those employees should be mandated to link their role into virtually every meeting the Agency holds, so as to give more weight to the importance of culture change. One of our values is accountability and it sometimes seemed that only the Committee members were committed to positive culture change, maybe because we dedicated one hour each week to focus on it and see how it could be promoted. Thanks for great ideas!
Struggling with developing a healthy work culture in our workplace, looking forward to reading this book.
Good stuff! I am definitely working on culture with my team. We are focusing on one word for this year–trust.
Love this. I actually work for one of those companies where culture and values are king and queen. It’s amazing what a great culture can accomplish for everyone associated with the organization.
Great Post, exactly what we are trying to do here! Can’t wait to read it!
Sounds like a “must read” book. Can’t wait to get my hands on it.
The culture of any agency is so key to it’s success -we can’t be reminded enough to keep this as a ‘work in progress’ !
I have had the opportunity to work in two different schools with cultures that promoted the achievements of staff members and students by recognizing strengths of all and facilitating collaboration between those with strengths that complimented their partners’ challenges. Would love to learn more about helping to build this culture in other work places.
Having worked at ‘large’ organizations for the bulk of my career, the idea to have a culture rep in each organisation seems especially on point. Experience has been there is a culture for each management subgroup.
I am very curious about the “culture team” aspect of this book. I would love to know more about what that looks like and how it works. I know to change culture a company needs to be deliberate, but it’s not always clear what that looks like.
Wow! As an HR team member, this would be an incredible tool!
I’m moving into a new position in a month and taking over a team with a REALLY healthy culture, so I’m doing as much reading/learning/growing as I can to supplement what I’ve already seen in leadership to make sure the culture of our team continues in a healthy direction. Can’t wait to pick up this book. One of the things I’ve done with our team already (and over the past few years) is using Strengthsfinder to give common language around knowing how each other tick. It’s been CRAZY helpful.
I love the ‘Wheel of Culture’ and will absolutely look up Insights. I have used Strengths Finder in the past and found it very helpful also. When the culture in the workplace is supportive, with individuals feeling cared for, teamwork increases — productivity increases — issues decrease. This is an absolute need for so many of us. Thank you
Looking forward to reading this. Thank for for the insight!
Thanks for sharing. I listened to Vanderbloemen on the Carey Nieuwhof podcast a couple of weeks ago. He was talking on his book and it was an awesome podcast to dig a bit deeper into the subject of culture. I wish organizations would pay more attention to the effects of culture on their people. It is one of our untapped resources that can get organizations to peak over their plateau. I am a champion of “culture ambassadors” in companies! Ann Marie Talent Management and Organizational Development
This is one thing that I’m really working on in our organization, a good culture.
As someone new to Corporate, “culture” appears as one of those aspirational buzzwords that can be difficult to harness and direct. I appreciate all the insights on helpful culture behaviors and activities!
Great Post! especially like the wheel of culture. I will keep this in mind when working with groups.
This would really help with my small company of puzzle makers.
That is a great idea to have the visual reminder of each person’s communication style. I also think that I should use the personality tool with my team to see how each player communicates.
Without question, culture change has been our most important motivator and the hardest thing to implement as we have changed how we work and what we value. Sounds like a great and timely read, particularly for organizations adopting agile.
Values develop leaders; leaders develop culture; and culture determines outcomes.
It is crucial leaders get this one thing: they create the culture n which everyone works, so make it a good one.
We are embarking on a new service culture strategy so this book would be perfect timing to read! Thanks for sharing!
Been in cultures that were outstanding and I still look back on them and the personal/professional growth they fostered. The bad ones are still a nightmare to remember. I like the ideas for making good culture more intentional.
I am adding this book to my reading list. I work with school administrators to help build their leadership capacity, and I start with them building their school culture.
I can’t wait to read the book. I love William’s input on different podcasts and always find some new truth or affirmation. Our understanding of differences in behavior is built on DiSC – I can’t wait to see how “Insights” correlates with my current understanding of behavior. Dan – thanks again for this content!
We have a culture committee, but I love the idea of creating a position for it on the org chart!
great piece. looking forward to having one soo
As a person who studied corporate cultures for a great portion of my career, I learned there is no such thing as a “sub-culture” in a corporation, for example, Safety Culture, HR Culture, etc. People tend to create sub-cultures to validate their position/role in the organization. It may be obvious, but the overall Culture of an organization drives everyones’ focus on their work and the success of the organization. Don’t get lost in validating “Sub-Cultures.”
A perspective that is sorely needed. Thanks for today’s insight into the culture of any organization.
Workplace culture– nicely played. Culture implies it’s caught, modeled, repeated, applied to all aspects of the workplace. However like anything else, if it’s everyone’s job it can become no one’s job.
I would love to read your book! I believe the culture in the school is top priority!
I work in a government setting. I have worked really hard to convey my desire for a positive work environment and to let employees know they are valued. Despite this, I have one group where the culture in their area is toxic…maybe that is not even strong enough of a word. I read the 3/6/18 post “Mary Poppins was wrong about a spoonful of sugar” and I agree completely. We have one extremely sour person and she’s like terminal cancer spreading through the group more rapidly than we can attempt to treat it. Unfortunately in our setting it is difficult to simply remove the sour, as being a cultural cancer is not a fireable offense, though it should be. I need all the resources I can get my hands on to attempt to overcome this cancer culture and turn it around to be a positive, innovative, work environment. Thank you for sharing so many useful insights.
Christin- I know the government is hard to be fired from, my Dad worked for the USDA and ran into similar situations. I am wondering if the person that is sour needs a job change? What happens when you share how this person’s behavior impacts the team/culture?
No doubt culture is key. Given the fragility of a positive culture, any insights and tips on securing and maintaining it are welcome. Thank you.
I love hearing how clear the line is between displaying the importance of culture visually and the impact that has on prioritizing culture.
We spend a lot of time discussing the culture of our organization. It is critical for a number of reasons including recruiting (current team members are your best recruiters) and team member well being. Culture must be tended to regularly as a necessary/critical element of a healthy organization. Thanks for the thoughts today Dan!
At our company, culture is a huge part of our everyday core values. We work with people with disabilities, significant and less prominent and people from multiple different nationalities. Our core values revolve around our team members. Our staff recently did the DiSC training to learn about how other members of our team communicate, learn and work. This was very insightful especially when you are struggling with that one individual and then you learn that their style is almost and exact duplicate to you. Thank you for the article.
Thanks for the post. Culture is essential to the success of an organization. Speed of the leader, speed of the team. If you live and breath the culture, talk the talk and walk the walk, your team will follow suit. Difficulties come when you have individuals who are rouge or during times of acquisitions when two cultures clash or combine. Communication is key to a positive outcome.
I can see where having a person responsible for culture a very important component of creating a culture that you want. Without a driver, you get a culture of happenstance. I like the idea of personality assessment tool and the Culture Wheel so everyone understands or can see where the other person is.
The main role player in work culture is the top manager. Most of the work environment spread by diffusion.
Very helpful post!
I would love to read this book! My office is constantly building a positive work culture. We have recently trained on the DISC profile and more recently on the Leadership Ladder.
I’m really interested in this topic as the leader of our Employee Engagement initiative for my organization. Culture is such a huge part of our success. I can’t wait to read the book and gain useful insight!
How would this work in a context where there are no resources to make this someone’s sole responsibility? How could the principles be adapted?
We use DiSC, Birkman and other resources, it would be great to understand culture building in a deeper way.
I’d love to win a copy of this book!
I’d love to win a copy of this book.
Great reminder! Our office is always looking to bolster the cultural dynamic.
Very relevant topic! Would love to read this book!
I can see this being very helpful in a church setting with the main leadership team(elders) and other leaders within the church org structure.
Sounds very interesting!
Our place of business is struggling right now with a positive culture as we are re-aligning our 12 school districts and it feels very intrusive and invasive to our service providers as we question our practice to make the necessary changes. This post could not have come at a better time!
The “cultural” idea is thought provoking to say the least, we all need to be 1 in a team concept, binding us all together is another challenge, then holding them all together is the culmination.
I have worked in toxic environments before, and I could never flourish as I do now in an accepting space. Here, we respect each other’s leadership styles. One must tailor his message the way that it best fits the personality style of each individual. A leader who fails to do this is in trouble. A positive culture allows your team to flourish and thrive. It’s evident to others too.
Creating an environment where everyone wants to come to work and give their best is a must in my opinion.
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” ~ Ivan Misner
I so appreciate this perspective. My company is new and small and I already have a VP for Culture! We catapult organizations forward by bringing together brain science, partnership and teamwork through custom designed programs…so decided we better walk the talk! I would love a copy of your book on Workplace Culture!!
An interesting thought-provoking post to build the right organization culture within!
It’s a good idea to appoint A Culture Leader and allow him/her to implement right good values through innovative systems and procedures. Ideally, this person can be a good HR experienced person and he can have 4-5 other supporting senior managers to spread the right things across the organization and regional/branch offices. We need to follow a top-bottom approach to bring in the good changes in organization culture.
We need to have periodic assessments to ensure desired progress with good practices.
This is a timely book for us. I’ve been with an org for 9 years and the culture has gone downhill this past year – I’d love to learn some strategies to get us back to where we were. Negativity in an organization spreads like poison…
Great post – I can’t wait to read the book – I would also love some suggestions for an organization that will not devote a person solely or even largely to culture.
Thanks for the share Dan. I recently read an article that got me thinking deeper into culture and changed my opinion of how we view culture in organizations today. Culture is the side affects of everything working together. How the dynamics of the team adapt, how leaders hold themselves accountable, how the “rules” are played and if there is consistency among the players. Culture is the result of doing all the other things right and genuinely having interest for the organization. Consider culture in society, it just happens, its not forced, its not organized, and no one person is tasked with infusing culture to anyone.
Our company has been in business for 125 years so we have significant cultural inertia. We are working to change while trying to maintain the things that have made us “great”, but we have learned that this is much easier desired than accomplished. Every individual in our organization has to understand the change, see the changes modeled, understand the benefit and eventually have enough courage to start acting in a new way. Unfortunately people see this as a risky proposition when they have been previously rewarded for behaviors contrary to the desired transformation. I chuckled a bit at the subject heading, “know how one another ticks,” as we have mastered that in quite the opposite direction. As a smaller organization it is also a significant decision to create the role of culture development so it would be interesting to learn how smaller organizations have tackled this role. Thanks for sharing.
I and our tr are always to new improved learnings and this is a clear opportunity to assist our team to deliver an even greater service to both our internal and external customers !! Please send me a copy
Very helpful. I imagine that the book will be very insightful. I imagine that part of the success of VanderBloemen is the culture they have created.
Culture is an on-going focus of our management team. Our organization is made up of many high performing people which allows us to move quicker and take on more projects. However, we realize this also can create problems such as taking on too much; staff feeling they aren’t performing at the high level they want to be; etc. We are working to find more balance to this and how to better model this with every department in the organization.
Every publicly traded company I have been a part of has focused on quarterly earnings and yearly goals. They do this at the expense of culture. I believe their focus is all wrong. If their culture was strong, their quarterly earnings and annual goals would have been easily achievable. Its a bit like putting the cart before the horse.
Love the wheel!
This post speaks to the foundations of patient and family centered care (PFCC): dignity & respect; information sharing; participation; and collaboration. PFCC is a method of improving health care quality that changes the perspective of staff delivering care, and helps them reconnect with their values and motivation for working in health care. There are many international success stories that are influencing healthcare today, and your article speaks to the importance of identifying formal and informal leaders in organizations to lead the way. Thanks!!
Great read, thank you! If you could change one thing in your past what would it be and why?
Everyone should embrace workplace culture and engage accordingly. Time is not money, it is life. Spend and invest wisely
I have used Insights in a past organization and it can be helpful and I think it is helpful to have the “Lego blocks” out so folks can modify their approach based on who they are talking to. I am currently working with our leadership to incorporate something similar we are in the midst of trying to create a major cultural shift and the teams definitely seem to struggle with the communication piece and blind spots.
The Insights personality assessment was very helpful to be more aware of different communication styles/preferences. I find it much easier to adapt my communication style than to try to cram my preferences down on someone else. This article was good to point out that building a strong culture is something that takes time and really needs to be nurtured. Can’t put it on auto-pilot and expect it to take care of itself. Leaders must actively work towards building healthy workplace culture.
Having worked for several nonprofits (conservation or public lands) and also for state and fed agencies, I can definitively say that the workplace culture emanates from the top. Freedom to grow, take risks, and have a sense of humor is important, as is the feeling that you are backed up by your leadership in a healthy way. In my 30 years of fulltime work I have had possibly 5 or 6 truly great bosses, and those jobs felt like health, felt “right”. I believe leadership training should be part of every curriculum everywhere. Not all are born to it, but those who are should be nurtured, as they hold the light for the rest of us. Would love a copy of the book, and thanks for all the good advice over the years.
I am always fascinated by how culture is built! I’ll have to look out for this book!
I try to start each day by reading a positive bit of inspiration. Learning about developing a positive culture at work is at the top of my PD.
“Make culture a priority by creating a position for it.”
And when official position is not created, there is always the possibility of assembling (or support the creation of) a non-orgchart team with the leverage to infuse the principles of OCM. In our case we call it the Osmosis Club (all rights reserved, hehehe) .
Interested in diving in this book, thanks for sharing!
Dan, I am incredibly excited to read this book!
First of all I think culture is everything! Just today my supervisors and I and our morning meeting were doing a book review in chapter 2 of John Gordon’s book the power of positive leadership says positive leaders drive positive cultures!
Our church just finished using William Vanderbloemen search firm to hire our new senior pastor. That organization was phenomenal and it’s obvious their culture is one of serving organizations! I read Williams’s book called “search” it is more specific to the search on pastors however it is a great book on leadership search!
Dan has hit the nail on the head with the recommendation of culture wins in my mind !
I definitely agree with all of us. The culture of the work environment is by far one of the most important things to have. I have seen it from all different sides and how a terribly created work environment fosters a different climate than when everyone is on the same page and working together as a team that wants to be there.
I was actually just having this type of conversation recently with co-workers on how would they go about changing the culture of a work environment that does not foster an ability to have a cohesive team. It is definitely interesting to see how everyone has their own ways to go about changing things or what their definition of a cultural sound work environment is.
I appreciate your time writing these posts and sharing the knowledge you have. Thank you.
Culture can make you or break you and reveals itself (or the lack thereof) when you need it most. So many things contribute to a quality culture – but how to get it to where you want it and keep it there is the challenge.
Wheel of Culture is a great visual and reminder of our personality. The visual is very powerful.
Insight is everything when navigating, challenging and guiding organisational culture. Our current challenge is developing a culture where insight is valued, where staff move from ‘preemptive empathy’ to really persisting in developing an understanding of the inner workings of people in our ‘school’ community.
Thanks, turnover is one of the biggest challenges in our industry. Average of 65% per year. To reduce that would be amazing.
Love your work! Completed my MBA in Leadership last May. I agree, Culture is key! It must be preserved at all costs. I’m in Executive Search now. This book would be a valuable addition to my library. – @BriHyCSU
Culture trumps policy, protocol and passion. And kindness…kindness must be the bedrock of everything else.
Excellent ideas and thoughts! Quite often the ones working in a certain culture became blinded by it, not seeing anything else than their own place in the organisation. The more sour the atmosphere gets, the less people are capable of seeing the whole or the impact of the sour culture to their overall lives. And most of the time, the ones who are working to change the culture by their own actions and example are those, who are ‘outplaced’ by the management for being ‘trouble’. Because the management usually only sees the numbers and results, giving zero thought on the conditions they are being made.
Great points. Sounds like an important book to read
I really like the Culture Team idea. We have talked about culture change for many years, but could still use new ideas to keep it moving forward. I think the book would provide great ideas for us.
I love the suggestions in this post. I work for state government, and unfortunately it is very difficult to convince some agencies to put resources towards changing workplace culture. There are little things that I can and do try, and I hope that it helps.
This is something I’ve been really working hard on in my business, but I have a hard time allocating time to it because of our massive goals. How do you balance between culture and creating massive results?
Added this book to the list!
Wow, what an important read. Being a safety a Safety Director and the main point of our jobs are changing culture, I look so forward to adding this book to the arsenal of making a safer work environment. Not only in safety are we dealing with the new culture, but we have to change the old culture as well. To get buy-in is the highest win that we can do for safety.
Thanks for the advice of the book.
I consider myself a young leader (by experience more than age) and I’ve noticed my ability to remain hopeful and optimistic is not enough to change my current work culture. Negativity and cynicism seems to reign. I’m looking forward to acquiring new tools; however, I’ve noticed my boss has an “I don’t care mentality/attitude”. Hopefully suggestions will be provided in this book. It appears I’m fighting an uphill battle.
I’d love to read this book. The wheel appears to be a useful tool.
Your observations that, “Strategy is great. Having talented people is a must. But real wins come when culture is working,” is spot on! Whether good or bad, a corporate or company culture establishes norms and sets expectations. Developing and facilitating a culture workshop for a global IT group led to remarkable discoveries, insights. and discussions about shared attitudes, behaviors, and culture. While cultural awareness is key, your point that. “Fostering a great place to work and play is intentional,” is absolutely essential. Companies that desire to embrace and adopt a more positive and productive culture need effective change management that motivates and enables at the individual, group, and structural levels. Without effective change management, they’ll almost surely be doomed to continue with their current negative and counterproductive patterns and interactions. Thank you for a remarkably insightful post!
I am IN LOVE with the idea of creating a position for this. I have heard of Chief People Officer which I have believed to be this kind of role. My head spins with excitement when I perceive what could be accomplished with this type of INTENTIONALITY!
Intentional focus on Culture is the Harry Heilmann (MLB) of organizational performance. Never heard of Harry…no surprise.
Culture is wedged into ‘other duties as assigned’. I know. I am responsible as one of two “Champions” for our culture. And the expectation is that it gets fit in with all other items.
I love culture creation and maintenance. I wish the organization as a whole did to the same level as I do. It is overlooked, under appreciated and under funded. And all that is evident when cost becomes the reason we can NOT do something to support culture.
Love it all. Thanks very much!
I look forward to reading this book. Culture can absolutely make or break a team!
Culture I had not thought about that. Would enjoy a book to learn more..Thanks for the incite.
Awesome POST! Transitioning into a new place of leadership and recognize I’ll need to make a few culture shifts… Reading up on this a lot right now.
Tremendously insightful, the wall wheel and lego figures a good tool, however I am based in Asia and it may need a bit of refinement to suit the cultural nuances. Great stiff, thanks so much for sharing.
We are constantly working on improving the culture at my place of work. This book looks like it could really assist in that endeavor!
Working in a rich multicultural hospital can have it’s challenges. English is not everyone’s first language and this is evident in our accents, mechanics, and tone. We have to be mindful of this when we are speaking with people of different backgrounds than ours.
Great article, I look forward to reading your book. My organisation is in the midst of a transformation initiative and this would be atimely read.
Look, we all know a strong organizational culture is not *an* important aspect of success. It is the only aspect of success. It is the center stage…and your pointers are spot on!
Investing an actual position and team responsible for overseeing the culture is an awesome piece of the puzzle. Thanks for sharing.
fascinating, anxious to read and share with my company.
Another great book that hits on this is called “The Google Story” The brothers concentrated on creating a culture before they developed the product. As you know Google is one of the most successful tech companies in the world.
I would love to have this book as he has also done an excellent job in preparing pastor search committees to do their tasks in a previous book he has written on The Search.