Culture is not the problem. I am. You are. We are.
Get rid of the thought that culture is the root of all evil.
Have you lost a team member? The culture wasn’t right. Can’t hire that amazing prospect? I’m sure they weren’t culture fit.
Culture has become an easy scapegoat. A never-ending set of explanations for problems we don’t want to understand or face.
And we are just plain wrong.
Culture is what we make of it.
And you can change your team’s culture right now.
If you continue to catalog every single problem you have as culture-related issues, you’ll end up working under a toxic culture and most probably alone.
These past years we’ve been trying to get a perfect culture, so perfect that we forget the basics of what makes, to me, a great culture:
Doing amazing work with a kick-ass team in an incredible company being really well compensated.
Instead, we’ve focused so much on fine-tuning a candidate’s profile to an ideal culture that we don’t allow people to grow. We ask growth mindset but sometimes forget to apply it.
So look within and start to change
Pick up a notepad and pen.
Write down everything you want your culture to be like — your values, mission, pillars, all of it.
Now, look at the area you’re building. How the teams interact. How they work and how they behave. Be very honest if that’s what you want. If that’s everything that you wrote down before.
Now jot down everything you can improve. Really let that sink in because having a clear understanding of where you’re detracting from the path is going to be key to going back to where you want to be.
On top of that, why not add these actions to strengthen how your team works:
Create Connections with your team. Don’t be that weird uncle at the party every time you get together with the team. Foster opportunities for everyone to create connections. You can do this by adding skip levels or by team-building events.
Promote work between teams. A great way to get teams to work closer together is to get them to work together. Have them share their roadmaps, find convergence and make sure everyone sees the value of what they are building together.
Responsibility and Accountability. Stop micromanaging your team and start to trust them. This is the minimum you can do. Review your interactions and double-check if you are trusting them accordingly. But never forget, trust comes with responsibility and accountability.
Culture as the scapegoat is a fantastic way of sleeping soundly for weeks, months, or maybe years. The problem is when it catches up with you and all that remains is a toxic culture.
At that point, you won’t be able to control or tame the environment you helped create.
Yes, I have a lot of insomnia, but I prefer to tackle these issues head-on and continue to strive every day for a better culture.
Trust your team and start building your culture today.
Luis Parada — A Leader’s Mindset