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  • Kick Ass Zombie Hunter

Does Your Culture Need a Lift?

Hot air balloons floating into the sky.

Have you ever worked in an organization where you absolutely loved the people you worked with and you loved the work you did but felt so disconnected to the culture?

There are three types of cultures:

  1. Cultures that people love and care for deeply

  2. Cultures that people hate but are still willing to fight for

  3. Cultures that people are indifferent too – they dislike it so much they are checked out

The first culture is great, the second one I still don’t mind because it means someone is still connected in some way we just need to transform our culture to get the love back, but the third one, that’s not good.

Real talk: can you transform your culture? Hell yeah you can.

Is it hard? Absolutely it can be. Culture doesn’t evolve over night, it takes time and a conscious effort. A culture lift can be difficult when leadership isn’t aligned and has a lack of clear vision of the future. People may be resistant to change when you hear the cringeworthy statement “well, this is how we’ve always done it” I’m sorry but that mentality won’t get you anywhere good if you’re not willing to have an open and transparent conversation around this.

Culture is complicated and it really does require commitment at all levels because culture is an accumulation of our words and actions.

Here’s the tricky questions you have to ask:

  1. Is your leadership team capable of change?

  2. Is your leadership team ready and willing for change?

  3. Do your leaders make change a priority?

If the answer is no to any of the above, you’ll have a harder time influencing the culture but it’s not impossible. Sometimes leaders fear change because they don’t have the right tools and skills to manage the change.

Let’s look at the culture king, Starbucks. Only because we were just there for a meeting and now it’s on our mind. Because hello, pink drinks ---> order it next time if you have no clue what we’re talking about and thank us later. Okay, back to culture!

Not many people dive into the Starbucks culture, they just show up for their coffee and they’re on with their day. However, Starbucks was pretty close to shutting their doors – they lost their edge and were in a huge financial crisis. When they analyzed what was going on, they made the realization that their culture took the back burner and this resulted in lack of consistent training impacting all areas of their business. So the CEO decided to reignite the Starbucks culture starting with ensuring that everyone not only knew the mission, vision and values but understood what it meant. Then the management team went on a mission to uncover the Starbucks purpose.

Fortunately it worked out well for Starbucks. But they waited until they were sick to get better. They waited until there was so much discomfort in the culture before making it a priority.

I believe that people know how important culture is, but they don’t know where to start. Or their workload is so jam-packed it never seems to make it to the top of the list. But if you want to tackle performance issues, recruitment and retention and all those things, culture is where you start.

Starbucks isn’t about selling great drinks. Lots of places sell great drinks. Starbucks has focused their energy on creating great experiences whether you’re a team member or a customer in their store. Because they focused on giving their culture a lift.


A Team Human Conversation

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. How would you describe our company culture and why do you feel this way?

  2. Do you feel connected to our organizational mission, vision and values and why do you feel this way?

  3. What would a more meaningful workplace culture look like to you?


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