How are you building your culture — Consciously or Unconsciously?
A business and its culture should reflect the foundation beliefs of the founder/entrepreneur.
– Lonnie Sciambi
As leaders – entrepreneurs and high-potential executives, alike – we develop a set of beliefs about how we believe our businesses should be run. Sometimes those beliefs are developed consciously. All-too-often they are developed unconsciously.
Do you know what your core beliefs and central values are? Can you or your team articulate them? Where are they showing up in your business, and how well is your corporate culture aligned with them?
The culture of your company is a true reflection of how well you are living your values. Costco’s co-founder, Jim Sinegal, captured the essence of this idea when he said,
Culture Is Not the Most Important Thing —
It’s the Only Thing!
– Jim Sinegal
Similarly, comic-philosopher Hugh MacLeod epitomized this truth in one of his gapingvoid cartoons:
Active vs. Passive
“Modeling” is active: it’s behaving in a manner to be followed or imitated. As a leader, whatever you model will be mirrored. It will soon become expected, and ultimately become a cultural norm.
Conversely, “Tolerating” is passive: it’s allowing something that you don’t like or agree with to exist or occur without interference. Whatever you tolerate will persist. It will soon become expected, then ultimately become a cultural norm.
Let’s say that your team meetings are scheduled for every Monday at 11 am. One member of your team is consistently late, arriving 5-10 minutes late, and always with a ‘reason.’ “I was stuck on a call.” or “Hit traffic getting back from an appointment.” or “My last meeting ran long.”
Over time, knowing that the meeting doesn’t start at 11, other members of your team arrive 10 minutes late. Eventually, the meeting time begins to shift based on the pattern that has been tolerated. “It’s OK to be late” has become a cultural norm.
Any WAY you look at it, culture is created and constantly reinforced. But here are the 10 million dollar questions:
- Where are you consciously creating the culture within your company?
- Where are you allowing the culture to be created unconsciously?
- And what else are you tolerating in your business OR in your life that is contributing to that culture —
- Lack of accountability?
- 98% completion?
- Missed deadlines?
- Poor communication?
- Caustic tone?
What Are You Tolerating?
There is a powerful exercise I give my clients called “What Am I Tolerating?”
Simply by naming the things you are tolerating, you become conscious to their presence and their impact. You will naturally begin addressing, shifting, eliminating, growing through, and resolving those tolerations.
Download the exercise. See what comes up.
I invite you to look at the culture of your company. What part of that culture was actively created, shaped and nurtured through intention and conscious choice? What part of that culture was born from unconscious inaction?
At this point … What changes do you want to make? What actions will you take to make those changes?