We’re In This Together

By Michael Gibson, Senior Director of Global Delivery

Rational is a collective of talent. Like any company, our collective talent is unique, as is our culture. It’s not for everyone. Our culture can be vague to pin down and define but for the most part, it’s our company’s unique behavior, beliefs, attitude and nature. It’s also a vibe, a mojo, a mission, a passion and a way to communicate. It’s simply about the people and people are complex.

Here are a few things I believe about culture:

Own your own role. First, look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Am I part of the problem?” Be honest because there are probably at least a few things you can personally change. Your personal attitude, the effort you put into making positive contributions to the culture, and how you communicate with others are a few things to consider.

Use your influence to make things better. Leaders aren’t always the boss. Natural leaders set an example that others want to follow, so if that’s you, be a good one! If you understand the vision, use your influence to help others better support the vision. It’s amazing what a group can accomplish with a shared vision. It’s contagious. Influence your sphere and hopefully it will trickle out from you to your team, your department, and ultimately throughout the company.

Be open, transparent and fair. Be the example for others to follow, mentor when and where you can. Be open, transparent and fair and people will reciprocate even if it takes a while. Feel empowered to say or do what’s best for the company — even if that means making some mistakes — rather than feel like you always have to CYA.

Most respectful intentions (MRI). At the pace we work and all the different ways we communicate, it’s SO easy to misconstrue what someone says or does. When we falsely assume intent, we can get wound-up and may literally create the negative dialogue we falsely assumed in the first place. Adopting MRI can be a powerful tool in de-escalating daily moments and frankly, makes for a better day.

Create moments. Share ideas that can bring the team together. Little things, like grabbing lunch together, bringing donuts in the morning or going to a game. If you’re like me and terrible at planning group activities, partner without someone who isn’t.

Be patient. Everyone loves an easy answer but great culture requires great effort and time to get it right. And frankly, it’s never perfect, but we should always be working on incremental improvement. Patience is a virtue.

Rational Ideas is the thought leadership hub for Rational, a digital agency and consultancy based in Seattle, WA.