How would you describe the culture in your workplace? Good, Great,
‘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
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
Club – generally the busy leadership team who are hard to pin down
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
-Tap into this group, ask for their help, get their ideas and make them
Champions' Club – they know they are doing it right and are known for being a leader
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.