Every organization has it, and it wasn’t built overnight. It’s difficult to know exactly where it started, and it is never finished. Building workplace culture is a fluid process, not one single event.
You assume everyone knows. You assume everyone is on the same page. Is it true?
What is Culture?
Culture is different from environment. Culture is not about the lighting, the color of the paint, or the size of the leather chair. It’s not about break rooms with X-Box, or fruit and vegetable offerings instead of candy bars.
People often confuse workplace environment with culture. While they may cross paths, they really are quite different.
Culture is has something to do with the rules of the game. It is the language, the tone, and the demonstrations of role models. You can describe the culture you want, yet it will still largely form on its own.
Actions and reactions will guide culture. Tolerance, or a lack of it, will play a part. And yes, in some ways the physical environment will either support or detract from the path of culture.
Money probably doesn’t buy culture, yet it may become a part of it.
Culture is about a vibe. It is about what you see, what you value, and what you believe. It involves socially accepted norms.
The big picture of culture is often hard to describe. You often feel it before you can see it.
Building Workplace Culture
The government has a culture, so does General Motors, Harley Davidson, and SpaceX. Institutions of higher education have a culture, and so does the family restaurant down the road, and the hardware store across the street.
Every person, every day, contributes. It shifts and people navigate. Everyone plays a role.
Sometimes the hard part about a plan to build a culture is that the plan itself becomes an obstacle.
A plan to fall love can’t really be built, it develops.
Its similar with culture. You can love the idea of what you want it to feel like, but it always takes its own shape.
You’re a part of it.
Do your part.
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.