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Trowel or roto-till — what will it take to tend your culture?

People want to like their work, and many great companies have learned that organizational culture matters. A thriving culture will pay massive dividends.

On the flip side, a culture full of weeds and thistles can choke out productivity.

For better and worse, your workplace culture is a collection of implicit and explicit norms. It’s the sum of values and behaviors that flavor your team/s. The healthier your collective practices get, the stronger your culture becomes — and this has huge impacts.

I know because like you, I’m in the thick of it. …

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Previous: 4-Step Process for Getting On Mission Together

I’m sure you’ve noticed the correlation between clarity and expectations. Missed expectations lead to disappointment, frustration, and often disengagement.

Employees need leaders who are willing to be crystal clear.

And, clarity provides freedom to employees. When we know our role, we can own it. When employees own their role, they experience greater confidence and freedom. Thriving cultures depend on clarity — clear direction, clear purpose, and clear expectations.

If you want a thriving team, you’ll need to get clear from the top. Here are four strategies to get you started immediately:

1. Draw out your hidden culture.

team backpacking up a ridgeline toward the summit.
team backpacking up a ridgeline toward the summit.

Previous: 5 Keys to building a thriving culture

Building a thriving culture begins with getting a group of people — your people — on mission together. Accomplishing this task will not require a cape or mask.

You don’t have to be a superhero. You do have to be a leader.

You’ll need to lead with a fierce will for your mission, high social/emotional intelligence, and a healthy measure of humility. Leaders with these characteristics are ready to listen, desire collaboration, grow relationships, and inspire greatness.

Step 1: Honor the past.

Everyone on your team has a history — full of wins and struggles, joy and pain. Getting that history on the table — inviting folks to acknowledge their past experiences, and articulate their expectations — is an important start to getting on mission together. …


Aaron Marshall

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