Cultural Change Is in Your Hands
Everybody seems to be ready to get back to normal. State by state, we’re starting to see the restrictions related to COVID 19 begin to lift. After weeks separated from once-familiar routines, people are eager to return to the way things worked before. But what will the new “normal” look like now that our working relationships have been tested and the culture at work has been disrupted?
As we return even partially to on-site work, the culture within our organizations may now be more important than ever as a unifying factor. We’ve had time to consider aspects of life and work, goals, values, and objectives. As we head “back to work” we have a significant opportunity to focus on culture.
That unique overall personality and atmosphere of an organization, culture stems from the shared values, principles, and beliefs of the people who work together. It shapes how things are done and how people interact with each other. And culture is shaped by leaders, for good and for ill, regardless of whether they are aware or their role.
As a leader, don’t underestimate your ability—and responsibility—to shape your organization’s culture. Use this moment to do two things.
Examine your culture.Hold it up to the light, study what it reflects. What flaws do you see? How effectively does it reflect your values? And is the culture really what you say it is?
- Decide how you will make your culture better and take steps to make that happen.
It takes work and participation and there is no instant solution, but with deliberate steps you and your organization can craft a healthy culture suited to present needs. Begin with these steps:
- Identify your values and the greater purpose of your organization. Define what you want the culture to be and how people will be treated.
- Set an example by living out the principles and changes you want to see in the organization. There’s no substitute for walking the walk; we all benefit from someone modeling expected behaviors. Children aren’t the only ones who learn by what they see.
- Support the cultural attitudes with language that conveys the sense of a unified team. The organization’s goals are everyone’s goals.
- Pay attention to the details. Small actions, when repeated, multiply to become significant. Authenticity in relationships, the personal touch of caring interactions, and sincere appreciation recognizing the contributions of individuals all speak louder than words.
- Listen. Pay attention to the culture that you see developing. Reflect and adjust to encourage respect and healthy social interactions, whether your team is working on-site, from home, or a combination.
Don’t miss this opportunity to bring renewed purpose and authenticity to your workplace as we move back into a new “normal.” Although physical working conditions and dynamics may change to include more remote work teams, shaping a positive, healthy culture is in your hands.
Nancy Owsianowski, Founder
RoundTable Consulting, LLC
Nancy Owsianowski is the Founder of RoundTable Consulting where her relational, insightful approach transforms teams, leaders, and organizations. Find Nancy on LinkedIn or reach out to her to learn more about authentic leadership and her coaching, facilitation, and training services.
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