Our communication to people both within and outside of our organization was not what it needed to be. Emails or other communications from various departments often overlapped, were sometimes duplicated, were maybe missing
altogether, or finally, may have be contradictory. We all knew there were issues, but everyone was waiting for somebody else to fix it. So when we reach the point of needing something done, what do we do? What do we expect to happen that fixes the problem? What might happen? Maybe the boss puts out a memo explaining our new communication procedure that he/she developed in their office, by themselves. Sometimes that is not only how we have come to expect problems to be solved, but it is what we want. I have heard employees say, “Just tell me what to do and I’ll go do it. I don’t want to figure things out or talk about it, just tell me what do!”
So what does culture have to do with any of this? A positive culture creates a “want” to do well. It creates a respect and a pride within the organization that initiates positive action. We are proud of what we have, but want to do better.
Several years ago in our school district we were having issues with information getting home to parents at the beginning of the year. There was information we needed read and documents we needed signed by parents. Packets of papers were going home with every student on the first day of school, to be sent back signed by parents on the next day. Obviously, many parents had children in different buildings. They might receive the same packet two and three times, and we were actually requiring them to fill out the paperwork each time, for each student. Our district secretarial staff decided to sit down together and develop a plan to increase efficiency at school and reduce time and frustration at home. And they did it on their own, because they “wanted” to do well, to help, and to improve the situation. And their plan was a success. They went on to meet one half day each month to discuss successes and challenges they were having and to help each other solve problems. And they did it because they wanted to.
As managers, we can make people meet in teams and require them to solve a problem, or we can work to develop a culture so positive that teams want to meet and collaborate to help each other and to make the organization better.
So start today. Challenge yourself to find ways to build culture. Develop a workplace where employees have so much pride in what they do that they want to make the organization more successful, and will initiate the next step in order
to make that happen. If you need help, there are people out there that can help you do it. Don’t be afraid to ask.