Culture is a journey, not a destination. You can’t buy it in a do-it-yourself box, and you can’t install it in an afternoon. It’s all about the road being travelled, and that’s all about the attitude, or mind-set, of the leaders of the brand.
As I studied the habits of great (and not-so-great) cultures, interviewed people leading brands, and spoke to the teams in the trenches, the one constant that kept arising over and over again was mind-set. Mind-set was either the catalyst to a magical culture or it was the culture killer. The desire to build magical culture isn’t enough. The brands that succeeded in building authentic cultures had leaders with distinctive philosophies, approaches, and mind-sets.
The following list of healthy culture mind-sets showed up consistently in the leaders of successful cultures. I ask that you pause and reflect on each of these. If your current mind-set to building culture mirrors these, congratulations. If you recognize an opportunity to adopt one or more of these to give your culture journey a boost, please feel free to do so.
Great cultures spend as much time reflecting on success as they do building success, and they let this reflection fuel their emotions. They direct all their energy to the positive things they have going for them and they practice gratitude.
As you embark on your culture-building journey there are going to be some tough times. Sometimes it will seem like an uphill struggle. At the end of the day, most challenges and problems really are small. They should be treated as such and given the appropriate amount of energy. It may seem counterintuitive, but if you look for all the things you have to be grateful for, you’ll feel better, and you’ll see your path more clearly.
How do you do this? On a personal front, look at all the amazing things you have in your life: people who love you, your family, your freedom, your health, opportunities to become a better you, causes you can contribute to, the ability to learn a new skill, the chance to volunteer, things you have accomplished, lives you have changed, etcetera.
If every member of the team does this, the collective positive energy of this will spread like wildfire.
Every day, make time to ask yourself questions such as the ones below, and coach your team members to do the same.
- What did I do today that I was most proud of?
- What am I most grateful for?
- What am I looking forward to tomorrow?
This way, you end each day reflecting on pride and gratitude, which in turn helps you to feel the optimism building within you with respect to the coming day.
Make this one simple switch, and the empowerment and clarity that will come from this will soon have your culture on the path to greatness.
Optimistic cultures are first and foremost real and realistic. They do not hide from challenges or problems. They meet them head on and deal with them. I wanted to get this out of the way before you think I might be suggesting that optimism means sticking your head in the sand and seeing things through rose colored lenses.
The difference is that optimistic cultures look for the opportunities in everything, everywhere. This fuels their decisions and actions. The simple truth is there is always an upside opportunity in every experience you are going through. Think back to when you or the founder originally had an idea. You, or they, saw an opportunity and built a brand around it.
Opposite optimism, in a culture context, is fear. Many brands do indeed operate their business from a place of fear. They base their decisions and actions around the “what if it goes wrong” scenario instead of the “what if it goes right” scenario.
Many of these fear-based brands act optimistic, going so far as to make this a point in their marketing, sales presentations, service descriptions, etcetera. However, behind the scenes is a very different story. Fear can kill your culture very fast. No one likes to be in an environment where fear is present. Some brands I have seen are so deeply steeped in fear that it almost seems like a dense fog hanging over the place, a fog you can feel the moment you walk through the door. Unfortunately, people then act accordingly.
An easy way to identify this is what I call the “Sunday night syndrome”. On Sunday night, do you look forward to going to work on Monday, or do you dread it? If you are feeling less than optimistic about Monday, there is a great chance it is because fear is present in your culture and it has reached a point where it is starting to affect you at an emotional level.
This is not a good sign.
When challenges come along, or new ideas present themselves, ask yourself the following: What can we learn from this experience and where is the opportunity to improve? Your culture will be much stronger for it.
9: Humility & Ego
Building a culture around humility is a hallmark of character. Remaining humble keeps your purpose and core values alive. Remaining humble allows you to come from a position of strength. When times are tough you remain humble and remember why you started. When times are prosperous, you remain humble and practice gratitude.
No one likes to be around a brand with a large, inflated ego. We have all been around people with inflated egos. If you are like me, a little bit of them goes a long way.
The same holds true for culture. There is nothing wrong with a strong ego: strong egos attract, inflated egos repel.
For culture mind-set 4 through 6 click here: http://unleashculture.com/thirteen-mind-sets-that-foster-great-cultures-4-through-6/