Updated: Nov 10
Who really has the power to create culture? Have you thought about this recently?
Let’s go back to highschool. I vividly remember there was a cultural norm at my highschool that underclassmen couldn’t…or should I say shouldn’t cross the invisible line in the middle of the locker room and venture to the upperclassmen side.
Maybe that sounds odd to you, or maybe you are immediately taken back to some odd cultural norm that happened around you during high school too.
No one really talked about it, they just knew you weren’t supposed to do it. Until, someone did. One confident soul decided to cross this unspoken, invisible line and the rest of the school watched in wonder. And you know what happened then? A few more underclassmen followed.
It reminds me of this hilarious video, and it makes you wonder - Who really has the power to create culture?
I want to do something a little out of the ordinary here.
I want to talk to your boss. Since they probably aren’t reading this over your shoulder, maybe you forward this to them and you can share the things you plan to do positively around your culture to get their thoughts?
To the boss or leadership at your brand:
Culture starts with you. Creating the culture of a company starts at the top. You set the tone. If something about your culture is putting customers off, I’d say you need to start by looking at what you’re allowing to set the tone at your company. Because people don’t leave bad companies; they leave bad leadership. They walk away from places where the leadership leaves room for a negative culture to fester. Wherever you’re leading, the culture is up to you.
And while that is a heavy responsibility, I hope you see it as an opportunity to focus a significant portion of your time on creating a great culture. Because culture starts with what leaders model, create, and allow.
Okay, back to you, the person making the magic on the frontlines of your brand.
You may not be the leader of your company. You're not the one on top making all the decisions. You don’t have the ability to make big, broad, changes to shift the culture at your job toward the better.
But when it comes to culture, you do play a role. You do have a responsibility.
You have a personal opportunity to influence the culture at your company no matter what your position is. You’re in full control of the culture you create for yourself and around yourself. And as the person customers interact with before almost anyone else, you’re the one impacting the way a customer experiences your culture, for better or for worse!
So, can I issue a challenge to you?
No matter what your job is or how much influence you feel like you have on the overall culture at your company, you can become a personal leader. In fact, the best employees—the best people—choose to take ownership of their personal leadership. They become the kind of people that others trust, want to model, and ultimately choose to follow.
Do you have all the power in the world to shape the culture at your company? Probably not. But do you have all the power in the world to choose to develop yourself as a leader in any space? Absolutely! And trust me, the more you choose to dive into your own personal leadership, the more the culture at your company will be influenced for the better.
So to give us a kick start, here are two simple questions, that when answered and acted on will impact the culture you are a part of:
How can I leave the spaces I am in better than when I found them?
How can I leave the people I am around better than when I found them?
When the idea of leaving spaces and people better than we found them leads in our minds, our behaviors will quickly follow suit.
Leaving Spaces Better
It’s pushing the chair in at the table you have been sitting.
It’s cleaning up the breakroom area, or cleaning out the microwave that looks as if no one has cleaned it in years.
It’s making sure the desk area is clean and your trash from dinner is emptied out to prevent stink for the team coming on the shift behind you.
Leaving People Better
It’s taking the time to ask how someone is doing and really listening to their answer.
It’s seeing a job well done and encouraging the person responsible.
It’s knowing that a co-worker is in a hard season and going above and beyond to help them in their shift.
What can you do today to set the bar for culture? How can you choose to be the standard through your mindset, attitude and choices? Who has set the bar for you in the past that you can encourage?