Thirty employees sit in small groups around the training room. Their attention is on a new assignment. They are tasked with making two lists. The first list is all the things they feel they cannot change within their workplace; all the things that are outside their control to make the culture better. They spend much of their time on this list. As soon as one barrier is written down, someone has come up with another.
When they eventually move over to the second list, the room gets quieter. These are the things that they can change in order to make a positive impact on their culture - the behaviours, actions, and attitudes that are in their direct control. The designated note taker sits back in her seat as she waits for suggestions.
Finally, someone hesitantly says, “We could commit to talking to one another when we have problems rather than letting them get out of control.” Others around the table nod in agreement. Someone else suggests having a team huddle at the start of the week to see what everyone’s working on, where people might need help, and to ensure the team is all on the same page. Another person discusses taking more time to celebrate the successes of the team rather than just focusing on the challenges.
Soon the room is a buzz with conversation as people discuss what they each can do to build a healthy culture within the company; building on to the ideas of others to give them maximum impact.
It’s easy for us to think of the things that need to change inside our organizations that are outside of our hands. What we often forget is the power that lies within each of us to bring positive changes to the environment. When we all choose to recognize the impact our actions can have and exercise our own influence, that’s when teams truly come alive and great cultures are born.