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LifeBalance Blog

Can We Change Workplace Culture?

Can we really change the culture of our workplace? Do we even care enough to want to? Is it our job?

Changing the culture of an organization is an enormous task. It’s hard work and will take time. But the rewards are worth the effort.

In order to make changes in an organization we must first change ourselves. Culture change comes when we put ourselves in the mix. We have to get our hands dirty. We must do things that are not ‘our job’. We have to care and risk.

Once we’ve taken a look at the part we play in the dysfunction, we can then begin making a difference in our departments, our communities or entire organizations.

In my work with organizations I watch people continually resist being part of workplace culture change initiatives. People want culture to change but they don’t want to take responsibility for it. They tell me it’s not their job or they admit they’ve tried to make a difference in the past but it didn’t work so they gave up. Or they engaged and management didn’t. No matter how they got to that place – they’ve given up. They’ve lost hope. And when we lose hope our organizations can get ugly.

I’m often hired to bring hope back to an organization – to help fix the ugly and give morale an uplift. Clients want me to get their people excited and re-engaged. They want me to encourage their people to do things differently as the result of my having been there. But often that’s where it ends.

I can’t work miracles. I can engage an audience, get them to think and challenge them to take action. Yet if the audience and the management team does nothing when I leave – nothing will change. Organizational change is a job for the entire company, community or organization. All hands on deck are required when culture is shifted. And when it works – it’s magical. I’ve watched companies take on the challenge and work hard to make things different. I’ve watched organizations go from a pit of negativity to a place that vibrates with positivity. And while I’d love to take the credit – they did the work. I was just blessed to be part of the process.

Are you ready to be part of the solution, to make a difference is your organization, start small. Here are some simple things you can do to make your workplace a little more positive place.

Simple Ways to Change Culture:

  1. SMILE. Smile at every one you meet, every day. It is free and has a huge impact.

  2. FOCUS. Focus on what’s right, on what’s working. Set a timer on your watch or phone to remind you to focus on the positives multiple times a day.

  3. BE WILLING. It’s okay , actually it is good, to get involved. You might be the only one at first but change begins when someone steps up and says, ‘I AM WILLING’.

  4. GIVE. Give without expectation. Give freely and without needing something in return. Give of yourself, your time and your resources.

  5. BREATHE. Stop before reacting or making up a story. If you don’t know the answer – ASK. If you’re immediately negative – STOP. Practicing the pause is vital to choosing how we think and act.

  6. STOP GOSSIP. Refuse to gossip. Make a commitment and let others know that you will no longer be part of gossip. Setting this limit and holding yourself to it opens the door to seeing things as they are – not as the gossip trail has said they are.

  7. LEAVE. If you’re truly unhappy at your job – LEAVE. Life is to short to be miserable. There are lots of ways to make money – find one that feeds your soul and has a culture you want to be part of.

What will you do to make a positive difference in your workplace or community today?

Michelle NeuJahr, Motivational Speaker, Business Coach

The Business Renovation Company

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