Hi. Grace Judson here, and welcome back to the
Virtual Corporate Culture Challenge. Here we are on Day Two.
I want to dive right in, because I want to cover a couple of things from a very well-respected thinker, if you will, on trust in organizations.
Rachel Botsman is one of the Thinkers50 – there is an organization called Thinkers50, and every other year they award a Top 50s Thinker of that year to 50 people. And she was one of the award-winners in 2019. She is an expert on trust and technology – an interesting combination there, right? And as she put it in a recent post on LinkedIn, and I quote, “Remote working has done something many companies never expected: it’s boosted trust in teams.”
Very interesting point, because she then goes on to make the point that this only happens in those cultures where leaders believed in their workforces. She said, and I quote again, the messages those leaders are conveying are:
- We’re not physically together in a space five days a week, but I trust you’re getting on with it.
- I know you have distractions and responsibilities at home, but you’ll still fit in the work and be productive.
- I understand that times are tough, but we have the tenacity together to get through this.
- I’m here to support you, not micro-manage.
I think these are very clear and explicit and intentional statements, that, as you think about how you want to communicate the culture to your teams, you might want to really, seriously consider. Because – here’s a question for you: when you listed out the attributes and qualities of your corporate culture in yesterday’s worksheet, where was “trust” on the list? And I’m going to ask a potentially challenging and blunt question: was it even on the list?
One of the things I’ve seen recently, and that I find sincerely disturbing, is a litany of questions about how to track remote workers’ time and productivity. And it makes me really (coughs) – apparently it gets me all choked up! – to think that there are so many companies where people don’t trust their employees to get the job done in the way that Botsman describes, and aren’t able to be flexible about how people actually do that.
So I invite you to consider, as you answer today’s worksheet questions, what changes you may need to incorporate into your current culture to support a world that we never expected to happen – but, as Botsman points out, gives us the opportunity to improve the culture.
Cultures inevitably evolve, and so my question to you is, how can you ensure that your culture evolves intentionally in order to support your employees in the best possible way, now and going forward? I mean, trust is a good thing whether your people are working remotely or in the same office.
And this isn’t about making huge culture changes – we can talk at some point if you like about how those seldom, if ever, actually work. It’s about tweaks, small tweaks that can help you support your teams and yourself in doing – and feeling – better.
So as you consider how you want to support, maintain, and evolve your culture, consider how it’s been communicated in the past. Do you conduct formal culture training, perhaps as part of your employee onboarding? Or is it informal and picked up on the fly? Do you currently have culture evangelists or role models who are especially good at “walking the talk” of what the company believes in and stands for? And if you asked ten employees from different areas of the company what they thought the culture was, how similar would their answers be?
I ask these questions to point out that your company may not have been as intentional as you may have thought or wished in the past, and that being more intentional now is both an excellent thing and, perhaps. a bit of a culture shift in and of itself. But what better opportunity than now, right, when you’re thinking about how to communicate it and maintain it for people who are working remotely.
So today’s task, then, is to look at what qualities you want to communicate, even if it may be a bit different from what’s been communicated or just accepted in the past. Again, this is not about a big culture shift – that is hard to do in the best of times, which these certainly are not – but it is about taking advantage of this time to consider what you want to emphasize and point out to help your managers and leaders support their teams in the best possible way.
to be eligible for today’s prize, make sure you post a comment, a relevant comment about what you’re learning, insights you may have had, questions – questions are always welcome! And I’ll see you here tomorrow for Day Three of the three-day Challenge. Take care.
One thing that stood out to me in today’s challenge was the question around how culture has been communicated in the Company, both before the pandemic and while working remotely. At my company, it goes deeper than differences pre-and post-pandemic, as we had a change in ownership about a year and half ago, which also impacts culture and how it is communicated. I think historically our company’s culture was primarily communicated through word of mouth/reputation/talking about achievements such as Best Companies or GPTW certifications. I intentionally sought employment here (five years ago) based on the company culture reputation! Since culture is really about the people, with new ownership, there’s somewhat of a redefining of the culture, in my opinion. Not for better or worse, per se, just different. I loved our culture before and I love it with the new ownership, as well. Some aspects/changes (or perceived changes) may be better received by some individuals over others (in my observations). I think new ownership is working on articulating the culture more through actions such as written values (something we didn’t have before – even though there were unspoken values that everyone lived by). Now, I think we need to work on putting everything into practice (really “walk the talk” in all aspects) and since majority of our workplace has been remote for almost 8 months, I think that has been a challenge. It’s not as easy to see the values in action; you have to be intentional about making sure employees see and feel it.
One small comment on the fillable worksheet: I wasn’t able to fill in Step 5. Not sure if it was a worksheet issue or user error (which is entirely possible!).
Janine – really perceptive observations.
The changes that come from new ownership are always challenging, even if they’re expected and desired. *Change* is always challenging, even when expected and desired! And of course the work-from-home impact of the pandemic, which is obviously unexpected and a huge change, adds significant complexity. (Thus the reason why I’m running this challenge.)
Your point that you wanted to work for your company specifically because of their culture is important, and I think often overlooked when companies think about their culture. As Nina said in her comment on Day One, we really have to think about / observe where we are relative to the culture we think we have and want … and you pointed out that it’s so important to stay aware and focused in order to “walk the talk.”
OH! And thanks for pointing out the missing form fields on the worksheet! It’s fixed now. 🙂
Our sense of culture before the pandemic was very strong and positive. We talked about our pride in our culture it all the time. Working remote has dampened those sentiments in a big way. We also have new immediate leadership that has impacted the culture negatively and a new president that has had a positive impact on culture (both pre-pandemic). Something to note is that I and my team are more impacted by the immediate leadership than what is happening above them. I hear the statements that are made about trust but yet I don’t feel that I am trusted. I also hear the statements that we are valued and appreciated but I don’t feel valued and appreciated. And I try really hard to make sure that the people who report to me don’t feel this same disconnection – I wonder if my efforts are working.
Amber – so – one thing to think about is, HOW did you talk about the pride in your culture? What were the ways in which those conversations happened?
You may not be able to replicate the conditions under which they happened, but you can use that understanding to create new situations / circumstances where the pride can be reflected.
New leadership is a HARD change to navigate. And trust is something that has to be developed; it can’t just be spoken. Trust comes from consistency in action: someone consistently does what they say, behaves in a certain way. As you note, just having someone say “I trust you, I value and appreciate you” doesn’t go very far without the actions to back that up.
I’m going to offer a link to a video I made that covers the reasons for resistance to change; I think you might find it helpful both for yourself, and for your team: https://www.gracejudson.com/causes-of-resistance-to-change/.
Speaking of your team and wondering if your efforts are working … could you ask them?
Today was very thought provoking. Trust is a must for a team to “gel” and function at its best. To take a little different approach to developing trust, I think we have to first be trustworthy. How to do this could be a thesis but I think it involves self awareness first. That seems to be a theme in leadership, whether with E.I. or any other leadership behavior. Its those consistent behaviors then that lead to others trusting us. We also need to feel trustworthy ( self trust) to trust others.
So. with that we include E.I. a lot in our discussions. We also discuss mindfulness and compassion with ourselves as well as others. I want our culture to be one of ongoing compassion to our patients and each other. How can our patients trust us if we don’t promote a compassionate trusting culture?
Excellent. I live to provoke thought!
You raise many excellent points, and the one I’m going to latch onto is the question of “self trust.” I’m picking that because I think it’s a HUGE challenge for all too many people. How many of us actually trust ourselves to keep our commitments *to*ourselves*? When I ask clients that question, there are varying degrees of foot-shuffling and downward gaze, and almost inevitably a quiet admission that it’s not all that easy to do.
I think you’re quite right that to truly be trustworthy, we must start with ourselves.
But it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. We may not fully trust ourselves, but we can still earn the trust of others whilst working on our own self-trust.
Your final question – “how can our patients trust us if we don’t promote a compassionate trusting culture” – is powerful and poignant. And it might be something you’d want to include as you communicate the culture to your people!
Right before the Pandemic hit, we lost several of our employees due to our pay scale. We have been extremely shorthanded and are slowly hiring new employees. I feel like our culture was better before all of this happened. Now, our employees are super busy and with new employees being hired, there is a trust issue happening. We must all learn to appreciate our co-workers and how they truly help us and how important their job is to the whole picture. A thank-you goes such a long way as does I appreciate you helping me. Kindness has to begin inside the clinic in order to resonate kindness to the outside world. Patients need to always be able to trust us to be kind and qualified in our jobs.
Jeanie, whenever an organization adds multiple new employees at once – even if slowly – and especially if it’s because of employee attrition, then there are going to be challenges with supporting and maintaining a good organizational culture.
Consistency, kindness, and gratitude – as you point out – are key to revitalizing the culture.
Saying “thank you, I appreciate you” is so important. Here’s a link to an article on how to make “thank you” go a long way: https://www.gracejudson.com/why-thank-you-isnt-enough/.
Thank YOU for providing such thoughtful comments!
Okay I now have a thoughtful list of who the champions really are and understand that I need to grow the number of culture champions through the managers if I can. They need to exemplify our culture!
Nina! I love this idea of “growing” the champions – that’s a great example of how to apply this question of how to support and communicate the culture in thoughtful, meaningful ways.
As all the comments throughout these two days have demonstrated, culture doesn’t “just happen” – or, rather, when culture is allowed to “just happen,” it may not be the culture we want to have.
I have always loved this quote: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I think this is so very true and that most of us whether we are leaders, co-workers or patients can relate to the quote in one way or another. The “feel” part of the quote is the most important word as this can be both good and bad in developing strong or not so strong relationships with others depending on what that “feel” turned out to be. I would want our culture to be that our “feel” would be one of trust, warmth, understanding, transparency, fun and gratitude.
Debby, you’ve pointed to something super important.
I think many people respond to that quote – especially given who said it (Maya Angelou) – as a warm-and-fuzzy thing.
But of course that’s not, as you point out (and as I’m sure she intended) the whole point. One can just as easily make people feel bad as good. I have a colleague and friend who talks about the “peak-end rule”: people remember the *peak* experience (which can just as easily be BAD as GOOD) and the *ending* experience in any encounter. If both are good, you’ve nailed it. If the peak isn’t great, you can still recover at the end. But if the end isn’t good, or if both peak and end are bad, you’re in trouble!