There is a social grooming that takes place on a generational level and a community level. We learn from parents, family members and other well-meaning influencers in our lives that work is a necessary evil that we must endure in order to get money. In our communities, ideas like “Mondays suck” and “TGIF” have deified the weekend and vilified the workday. At the end of the day, everyone from the CEO to the front-line employee who started two days ago has to go to work.
This way of viewing work has become quite prevalent and has securely inserted itself as an integral part of the organizational fabric. Sure there are some training programs and seminars that push against the ugliness of work being work, but they are fragmented and only mildly effective. One of the ongoing things that perpetuates the notion of work being this arduous task which must be endured is that of company culture.
Culture development efforts can easily drift into trying to put a pretty mask on an ugly beast. While I can respect the intention and efforts of those trying to create something positive out of a negative, I take issue with the implication that work is a negative thing that needs to be painted in a different color in order to become palatable. This initial negative view of work influences culture development and limits its scope to only fixing problems instead of providing opportunity.
Culture is an opportunity platform, not a solution development tool.
Work isn’t this horrid event to which we must be subjugated in order to have some financial stability in our lives. Work is an opportunity for us to express ourselves in a meaningful way. It is a creative outlet for our skills, abilities and talents. Work can easily be an acronym…
When we shift our view of what work is – and can become – it will influence not only HOW we develop culture within our organizations, but also WHY we’re developing it. Culture shouldn’t be this product we sell to employees. It shouldn’t be a product of the hype created by an executive thunder machine. Culture mustn’t be the thinly veiled attempt at behavior modification because your numbers suck.
Choosing to view work differently than what has been developed over time is confronting. It can feel a bit scary and uncertain. I have three words for you – Welcome to leadership. As leaders we have a responsibility to ourselves and others to objectively assess issues and if a paradigm shift is needed, then we facilitate it. We don’t judge its merits based on how comfortable it makes us feel or how easily we believe it can be implemented. We do it because it is necessary.
My challenge to you is to be courageous enough to view work differently and allow it to affect – dare I say, infect – how you lead in your organization. Imagine the benefit your organization would reap if, through weekly individual re-discovery of “kreativity”, your organizational goals were being met. It won’t happen unless your leadership influences a culture that will facilitate that.
What are your thoughts?