It’s an idea that I’ve woven into many different workshops – on inclusion, leadership, culture change, change management and so on.
It isn’t complex but it does seem to be a revelation for some. That must be a good thing – my reason for being in the room has to be to help people think differently.
“I don’t like the culture round here” we hear people say. “The culture at work is quite negative.” As if it is something separate from themselves. As if you may look upon it from afar and critique it. As if it, the culture, floats around in an amorphous bubble apart from the people in the business.
It doesn’t though.
I would argue that, at its simplest, the culture of a business is the sum of the behaviours and attitudes of all its people. In general and on any given day.
Therefore if it’s pouring down, the Tube isn’t working, trains are delayed, pedestrians & cyclists are drenched and the result is that everyone turns up in a bad mood and chooses to be grumpy, then your business is that bit grumpier isn’t it?
If you are trying to drive inclusive leadership in your organisation, and you or others choose to opt out, then the atmosphere is going to be less inclusive.
If you are being personally cynical in a company of 100 people then it is 1% more cynical than it needs to be.
So, if you buy my idea, you have a choice. You may exercise that choice in how you operate. You set the tone around you. You contribute to the culture.
In fact you (singular and plural ‘you’) are the culture.