We Are the Culture


Let’s take a few minutes and examine how we (employees and leaders) can affect an organization’s culture. It’s simple, just not easy and it starts and ends with us.

Candidly, if we don’t like “the way we do things around here”, then it’s up to us the change it. The fact is, if we wait for someone else, it will never happen. Now let me say clearly that I’m not advocating anything dishonest. I’m not saying that if you feel disenfranchised in the current culture that you need to create chaos and storm the ivory tower. I am saying that you have much more power than you think you do in order to bring the best culture to bear on your organization.

Do you need to have more consistency in your work environment? Then determine what you can do today to bring about changes that reflect the attributes that lead to consistency. Do you need more Involvement? What’s your plan to get people involved? And this applies whether you run the joint or work part time. The answer is in your hands. The changes needed to bring about the radical shift start with you. It will take time and energy, but it will be worth it, believe me.

Your attitude is key in all this. Ever read the parable in the Bible of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)? To quickly paraphrase, it’s a story of two sons. The younger son asks for his inheritance early, blows it, realizes his mistake, comes home and reconciles with his father. The other brother sees all this happen and his response, when he sees his brother’s return and reconcile with his father, is bitterness and distance.

One of the lessons for us is that if we have an attitude of bitterness and distance, we’ll never change our circumstances. The culture, “the way we do things around here”, will stay exactly as it is unless our attitude is moved away from bitterness and distance to commitment and desire to make things better. Remember I said it was simple, just not easy. It’s a lesson I’m learning every day. The good news is, you can too.

So let me ask you, what do you think about your organization’s culture and how can you take baby steps today to bring about the long-term changes necessary for it to become the right culture to make your organization/department/ministry/retail store, great?


One Response to “We Are the Culture”

  1. Cameron Conant says:

    Thanks for another great, thought-provoking post.
    I think that the culture of any organization is revealed when a conflict arises, or perhaps better stated, when a perceived offense is felt between two employees; it’s sort of the litmus test for what the culture of a place is really like.
    Do the people in that company (and you’re right, it always starts with putting the focus on “me” first) begin shooting at the offender (i.e., is the offender presumed guilty unless proven innocent?) or is there a culture of trust in which both parties “seek first to understand before being understood” to paraphrase Covey (i.e., is the colleague presumed innocent of the supposed offense unless proven otherwise?).
    And then of course, if there is fault to be found, how do the two parties reconcile? And do I, along with the other people in that organization/ company, value reconciliation enough to work towards finding (again parphrasing Covey) a “win-win” solution?
    I think learning and implementing Covey’s habits of highly successful people, most if not all of which are quite biblical, is a great first step for anyone, and something I would be well served to read through again myself.

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