As part of my business education, I would often sit in a managerial or leadership class and hear an instructor carry on about how important “culture” in an organization is. I would sit, take notes, nod my head, and even contribute to the conversation parroting what I had heard in other similar conversations. In the back of my mind I always questioned the concept of “culture.”
Don’t get me wrong – I recognized that when I walked into one place it had a different feel and environment. But, I didn’t truly understand how it came together.
One day while I was doing a turn-around project in Texas, it dawned on me. Creating a work environment that is healthy and productive is not an accident and can mean the difference between an engaged team and a mutinous staff.
In a nutshell, culture is a reflection of the leader. The bad news is, as a leader you are the problem. The good news is you are also the solution.
So, if you don’t follow through on your promises, your staff won’t with your customers. If you easily lose your temper, so will your staff. If you are informal and unstructured in your leadership, your staff will be informal and unstructured in their performance. If you distrust others, your staff will suspect your customers and each other of dishonesty and ulterior motives.
You probably have an idea regarding what kind of work environment you would like to see. Begin by thinking about how you interact with customers and staff yourself.