Virtual Corporate Culture Challenge
Day Two: Refining the Culture

Icon of two fish, one in a fishbowl, one leaping out

What messages have been communicated in the past about your organization’s corporate culture – and how have they been communicated?

What would you like to tweak or modify?

A significant culture shift isn’t the best choice right now, yet all cultures evolve over time. What’s the next step in your company’s evolution? How will you encourage trust, collaboration, and other qualities you feel are most important now?

What to do

1. Watch the video, or click below to read the transcript.

Rachel Botsman’s post on LinkedIn about trust: click here.

Download the audio: click here.

2. Download the worksheet: click here. NOTE: The worksheet is a form-fillable PDF, which you can fill out on your computer or print and complete by hand.

3. Complete the worksheet!

4. Post a comment, question, idea, insight, awareness – whatever comes up for you – below. Please be sure to leave a valid email. The email will not be shown to your fellow Challenge participants, but I need it to contact you if you win today’s prize drawing! Note that only relevant comments are eligible; off-topic or offensive posts will be deleted.

Today’s prize …

 Icon of notepaper and penTwo boxes of Peter Pauper Press’s lovely note cards, with a set of fine-point gel pens in six colors. Personal notes on actual paper are important now more than ever, and these are simply delightful.

To qualify, you MUST post a comment below about your experience with today’s challenge by 5:00 pm U.S. Central time. I will draw one name at random and announce the winner in tomorrow’s email. (Note: If you’d rather be anonymous, just let me know and I won’t mention your name when I make the announcement.)

Remember: there’s a Grand Prize at the end, and to qualify for that, you must post a relevant comment by the deadline all three days.

Good luck!

Comments 16

  1. 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!).

    1. 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.”

  2. 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.

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      Author

      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?

      1. I appreciate the link that covers the reasons for change. I don’t know that resistance to change really speaks to the disconnection that I am observing. One takeaway (reinforcing and unintended) was to continue to speak the larger organization culture and values into all conversations where the opportunity exists.

        I have definitely considered asking the team (and I take pulse discretely) but I am conscious to not inadvertently pass on my feelings of disconnection to others. I support my leadership (regardless) and don’t want to create toxicity.

        1. It sounds like you’re really feeling the disconnect in two ways: from your current leadership, and from the way things were in the past.

          I wonder if there’s some grieving to do there?

          And yes to forging onward with that takeaway you stated, and I love how you’ve put it: “continue to speak the larger organization culture and values into all conversations where the opportunity exists.” Perfect!

  3. 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?

    1. 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!

  4. 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.

    1. 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!

  5. 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!

    1. 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.

      Yay!

  6. 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.

    1. 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!

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