How to Clarify and Share Your Aspirations for the Way People Treat Each Other at Work
The difference between a great place to work and a job is the way people treat each other. The most important thing about us is the way we treat each other while we do the work.
It’s catastrophic when the tone of an organization happens by accident. You can’t set tone alone. But you must clarify and share your aspirations for the way people treat each other.
“Where there is no vision, there is no hope.” George Washington Carver
Clarify and share your aspirations:
#1. Identify ten words you want to characterize your organization in the future.
#2. Cut your ten words that describe your future organization down to five. Rank them in order of priority. How do you feel about your top three? What if your organization could only be described by your top word? If you’re not thrilled with your top three words, go back to #1 and start again.
#3. Write a vivid paragraph for each of your top five words describing how that characteristic will be manifested in your future organization. Conclude each paragraph by describing the essential character of each attribute.
#4. Make symbols that reflect the essential character of each word. For example, draw a lighthouse for an aspiration to shine in a dark world.
#5. Ask your team to do steps #1 – #4 for your current organization, not future. What do you notice?
#6. Ask your team to do steps #1 – #4 for their ideal organization. (Do steps five and six at separate times.)
#7. Schedule individual lunch conversations offsite with your leaders to listen to their aspirations for organizational culture.
#8. Begin conversations about current state. Share your aspirations. Start taking action.
What three words would you use to share your aspirations for an ideal organization? Why?
How might you share your aspirations?
5 Essentials of Culture Building
What Makes a Company a Great Place To Work
Move in the Right Direction with a Culture Champion
**This post is adapted from, Culture Rules Field Guide, by Mark Miller and Randy Gravitt.
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…Very nice follow-up to this week’s earlier discussion around culture rules: Aspire, Amplify, & Adapt.
Thanks, Gerry. I like how Mark summarizes culture building into simple words. Thanks for noticing.
Open–open to new ideas, trying different approaches, learning, feedback etc.
Responsible–what you say you do. Deadlines are met. Meetings start and end on time. People are accountable.
Continuous improvement–growth mindset, focus on learning and improving what’s done and how it’s done.
The leaders need to model the core values to build a strong culture.
Thanks Paul. Wonderful principles to live by. I love Open. And I struggle to be it sometimes.
This really spoke to me. I believe this activity will be a great way to develop a vision and action steps.
It’s a big process to identify the culture you want and then build it. I appreciate your approach that breaks this down into concrete steps that are achievable.
Nice, Dan, and another great example of your clear thinking and idea sharing.
Maybe this piece of writing might mesh into your piece, since it relates to kindness and trust in an ecosystem:
Thanks to Scott for the link to the Galapagos article. It helped me clarify a dissonance I feel in narrowing to three words/characteristics. As I age (and hopefully grow), I find myself becoming more militant about kindness. It should be table stakes for any organization/interaction. Or respect. Like, duh, can you achieve any other positive objective without the basics? But I’m aware that there are many people who believe those characteristics are too soft so I shouldn’t assume others consider them foundational.
On the other hand, what about the characteristics that make our organization unique? For us that might be intellectual curiosity. Another organization might not value that but it helps us attract and retain engaged staff. (It also makes for some great kitchen conversations.)
But intellectual curiosity without kindness can become arrogance or without respect, it becomes dominance. Hmmm, how to spend my three chips.