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Leadership Tips: Stop Your Excuses. You are the Culture.

Leadership Tips: Stop Your Excuses. You are the Culture.

Having a positive culture has real impact on business and your happiness at work. In fact, a Columbia University study shows that the likelihood of job turnover at an organization with rich company culture is a mere 13.9 percent, whereas the probability of job turnover in poor company cultures is 48.4 percent. That makes a huge difference…not just for the employer, but also for the fellow employees.

Although people cerebrally understand culture's importance, people tend to talk about culture as something external. For instance, a statement I often encounter when we are discussing Fierce is: “My culture doesn't encourage transparent, direct communication, so I can't have those kinds of conversations with my executive team right now.”

Sometimes that also sounds like, “If my company's culture was different, I would be different.” Or “If other people modeled those behaviors, I could do them too.” What I hear is “Look at those other people over there - no, not me, not here.”

Newsflash: Culture doesn't live outside of you. That's not how it works. You are the culture. You choose what it looks like every day. You choose it in the conversations you have. And even more so if you lead people, you model and reinforce those choices each time you interact with others.

This week's fierce tip is to take responsibility for your impact on your organization's culture. Ask yourself: What kind of culture do I want to be a part of? What does that require of me?

Yes, there will be issues that are legitimately outside of your control or purview. However, you have as much responsibility as everyone else to steer the culture.

So as seducing as pointing the finger can be at times, when you are unhappy with the culture, make sure you throw some of that blame your way.


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