How Do I Change the Culture?

There are several times I can recall over my corporate career where the culture was shifting, and not for the good – whether it was because we had a new CEO coming in that wasn’t totally jiving with everything, or we had senior managers who were imposing new processes or policies that didn’t fit what we had been doing. Or even just down to my regional office, where some situation occurs and it just kills the vibe, the positive energy that’s happening.

Several times I experienced this, and at my particular leadership position I wasn’t sitting in a C-suite; I didn’t have this top-down authority.

But I knew that I couldn’t sit around waiting for the top-down to happen, that I needed to figure out a way to create change, to shift the culture, even if it just meant within my own group or the broader office.  

And there were a few things that I did that really created community. Instead of sitting around waiting for the larger changes to happen, you have an opportunity to create community and start to make a shift within your own culture that could potentially send waves out and create a larger impact.

But let’s just start with this concept of creating community from where you are today. Really simple things are getting out of your cubicle, your office, your space, to go say hello; go check-in, ask how people are doing. Whether you are in a formal leadership position or not, you have that ability to just genuinely ask people how they’re doing. Connect with them and start to build that connection, that safety for everybody to join in on.

One of my favorite things to do with the new employees was to reach out to them to grab a cup of coffee. Very personal touch, very much a way for me to show that I care about them and that I want to genuinely get to know who they are. And it doesn’t have to be some formal process; I didn’t have an agenda. It was, “Let’s go grab a cup of coffee and have a conversation.” But again, a way to create that community and that connection.  

And then peers, I took it upon myself to put together a peer monthly call. So a way for me to stay in touch with my peers in other offices, and just build this community of learning; a community of growth. Again, we weren’t sitting around waiting for somebody from the top to tell us we had to do this. It was just about us at that level. How do we create community among the peer group so we can continue to learn?

So, what could you do today? One simple thing that would lend itself to creating a community within your environment. And whether it creates a bigger impact or not, it’s got to start with you. What could you do today? Comment below, I would love to hear your idea! 

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