Protect Your Culture

Protect Your Culture


Walking into the office, you are particularly upbeat. Thinking about how much you can help your customers today has you in high spirits. However, upon greeting your co-worker, he proceeds to tell you about how many problems he has to deal with today. He goes on and on about how much of a hassle this is and how others are to blame for dumping problems on his plate. He doesn’t want to discuss solutions, just complaints. The only break in the pessimism is when he realizes he’s late for a meeting and shambles off to a conference room.

Your chipper mood has taken a beating and you’ve barely started your day. This scenario is far too common. The otherwise positive atmosphere of a team is dragged down by one or two vocal people. What happens is the entire culture trends toward the negative and despite some efforts by leadership, there is a gloomy feeling in the office.

The Power of the Negative Few

This culture is defined by a few individuals who are controlling the narrative. It makes going into work that much harder and when something positive does happen, it is greeted with cynicism. Normally positive people are dragged down and become more reserved.

What affect do you think that has on the productivity, vision and inventiveness for a business? In a word, disastrous. Innovations to help with customers’ experiences will be kept quiet to avoid criticism. Employees will break off into clicks and have an “us” versus “them” mentality. Ownership of failure will be nonexistent as people look to avoid lasting blame. Errors will be hidden, preventing the ability to fix issues and improve the business.

Vigilance and Zeal

There is a better way though. A way to counteract this plunge into chaos. You must protect your culture with zeal. Responsibility lies with both employees and leaders in the organization.

Employee Responsibility

  • Steel your mind and don’t get sucked into negativity.
  • Stop negative conversations when all the facts have been given. It’s time for solutions.
  • Ask questions like “What would provide the most value to our customers?” instead of “How am I ever going to find the time?”
  • Talk to your leader. Leaders can’t be everywhere and will want to know if the culture is suffering.

Leader Responsibility

  • Constantly reinforce the culture. Develop ongoing education for how things should be.
  • Hire the right people. Create an interview process to only bring in the right people that fit your culture.
  • Model how you want the team to be. If your people see you being positive and happy, they’ll emulate your attitude and actions.
  • Transition those who refuse to change to another business. Termination isn’t always the answer, but sometimes it’s necessary. Don’t let one person drag down the entire office. No matter how productive this person seems, your team will more than make up for it once they are relieved of the negativity burden.