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There Are Profitable Cultures and There Are Not! What's YOUR Culture?

Every organization has a culture. In the vast majority of cases that culture is simply a default culture because leaders have not created a preferred culture. Organizational culture is the combination of its people's attitudes, practices, relationships, leadership style and values. Think about the implications of those five areas. When healthy, they reflect a good place to work but when unhealthy they can be toxic. Culture matters a lot. Default cultures are highly problematic because they simply reflect the aggregate character and practices of those in it - good and bad. They reflect the habits of the organization. The problem is that while there may be many good things about the people and organization, there are also unaddressed habits that hurt the organization whether in attitudes, practices, relationships, leadership style or values. Transformational leaders do not settle for a default culture. They intentionally create a culture that reflects the health they want to see. Organizational health is after all the key to organizational success. In the long run, it is also the key to retaining and attracting the best people. By far, the culture a leader creates is an indication of their true leadership commitments. So where do we begin? First and foremost company culture will reflect the leadership culture. In my work I see more unhealthy verses healthy leadership cultures. I would love to reverse that order. It is truly a gift to work in a healthy environment and can be a curse to work in an unhealthy one. Here are some of the components of a truly healthy leadership culture.

  1. Leaders who are open, humble, non-defensive and collaborative.

  2. An environment where robust dialogue is welcomed and encouraged, along with unity once decisions have been made.

  3. Having the right people in the right seats.

  4. High EQ (Emotional Intelligence) among staff members and leaders.

  5. Clarity of direction as to where the organization is headed.

  6. Having clarity in one's role and the necessary tools to accomplish one's job.

  7. A collegial open atmosphere from the leader on down.

  8. The ability to speak into things that impact one's job.

  9. Candid, honest dialogue and conversation in an atmosphere of respect.

  10. High in both empowerment and accountability.

It is my conviction that the most neglected component in creating culture lies in the choosing, training and placement of managers with a healthy emotional intelligence (EQ). The majority of the problems that organizations face revolve around individuals who have poor EQ - causing significant health issues for the organization. Think of these traits and their impact on healthy cultures:

  • Inability to forgive and move on

  • Holding onto hurt

  • Assuming poor motives of o