How would you describe the culture in your workplace? Good, Great, Workable, Toxic?

‘Toxic’ is such a demonstrative adjective; it gives more clarity than other descriptors such as ‘good’ – What does good look like?

I wrote about ‘Toxic Culture’ at the height of the Australian Olympic Swimming team performance review. I wonder how their culture is progressing.

It continues to disturb me that such a label could be associated with an organisation and someone’s leadership. In the past few weeks, I've heard more organisations’ cultures being described as Toxic. Wow, that’s a tough gig to fix.

What comes to mind is how the people in the organisation operate, behave, communicate and engage. No matter how good or bad a culture is described, I find that people fall into one of four clubs in an organisation. By mentally categorizing people, I then know how to engage them, each ‘club’ needing a different approach to get them on-board the journey.

Culture Club Classification and Engagement Tips:

Change Weary Club – they tell you that any change won’t work (and hasn’t worked in the past) and resist showing interest

 -Find a positive in what they do e.g. concern for customer care – using it in your communication e.g. metaphors

Compromisers’ Club – generally the busy leadership team who are hard to pin down

-Negotiate with them individually to change specific actions & behaviours – reinforcing the need to role-model.

Connectors' Club – these people are doing the right thing without knowing they’re doing it

 -Tap into this group, ask for their help, get their ideas and make them feel important.

Champions' Club – they know they are doing it right and are known for being a leader of change

-Search them out, involve them (and any others willing & interested) and work with them to increase the club membership.

Whilst I intentionally make light of the ‘club’ language, I don’t deny the difficulty to tackle culture. However, people create culture and you’ve got to break down the challenge and engage these clubs – working internally encouraging the leaders to lead the followers.

Connect with me to identify these clubs’ traits and how to engage them in your workplace.