Posted by Howe Q. Wallace on Friday, June 8th, 2012
I read an article about building a culture that caused me to think about what we are doing in our company.
It supports the idea of building a strong culture because people thrive in strong cultures. It’s good for us. It is what makes us human.
According to Mark Pagel, an evolutionary biologist, we are “wired” for connection. Because we are “wired” for connection, we are attracted to people and teams that have similar goals, similar values and similar ambitions. The more we refine those goals, values and ambitions and our teams “buy” in, the better we are as people and teams.
Better, not because we are “better” than other teams. Better because we are confident our actions every day align with what our team wants to do and it gives our lives meaning.
I know that is a bit deeper than I usually go with these notes but last night I was speaking to a group of business students at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. I was talking about how important it was for a leader to define the culture in which he works, lives and plays.
A student asked me a question: “What if the culture where you work is awful and the boss you have doesn’t get how to create a better one? What if the culture is bad?”
It was a good question. My advice was this: “Work as hard as you can to create a culture in the area you lead. It will either help make the culture better in the whole company or it won’t. If it doesn’t, I’d find another place to work.”
I spent a few years in a culture I didn’t believe in. It was miserable. I learned things. I got better as a professional. But, it was still a miserable experience.
When I got a chance to change I did. In a roundabout way, that’s how I got here.
My goal is to help create a team where you can feel good about what we are trying to do for our customers. A place where you can feel good about your efforts. A place where how we conduct business makes you proud.
I hope we are succeeding. I hope you will let me know when we fall short so we can try to fix it together.