My Quest To Help Create Unique And Thriving Company Cultures
I became fascinated with the way people interacted in certain social settings while I studied Social Psychology at the University of Florida. So much so, I was going to continue my education and become an Industrial Psychologist. Due to financial restraints, I decided to pursue my career in Human Resources and received a Master’s in Human Resources Management, while getting practical experience. This career path put me in front of many types of Managers.
As a Human Resources professional, I was able to explore different methods of inspiration and motivation. I observed many great managers, good managers, insignificant managers, and terrible managers. I was also able to observe strong managers vs. strong leaders. There is a significant difference between managers and leaders. The biggest difference I found was the leader’s ability to impact culture and create a sense of togetherness.
I spent 12 years in Human Resources Management before I made the move into Sales leadership. Interestingly, what prompted me to make the move was a poor manager. Today, I am so thankful for this blessing or I may never have ventured into this crazy and exciting world of Sales. Nevertheless, I have witnessed how a culture can enhance or cripple the success of an organization.
I have been fortunate to experience several different cultures throughout my 23-year career. I have been involved in some amazing atmospheres and, on the other hand, some that completely lacked luster. These unexciting environments do not produce the results needed for success. People do just enough to get by because they just do not care.
I often draw upon my experience to teach others how to easily develop a thriving environment. The first thing to do is remove anyone who is toxic. Get the bad managers out! There is no room for someone who will jeopardize the integrity of your culture.
I think back at a vivid time in my career where I had to deal with a demoralizing atmosphere. I believe the majority of the population has dealt with situations similar to mine. I had a boss who believed the way to manage was through intimidation. What he did not realize was this type of management actually demotivated people. Instead of making people feel they were part of something bigger, he made people disinterested in the overall goal. Additionally, he hired people just like him so it compounded the issue.
Unfortunately, the people around him felt helpless. Being one of those people, I started to become disenchanted and I wanted out. I felt extremely guilty about these thoughts since I knew I had people who relied on me. Although I tried to keep a stoic face, I know my team could read my emotions. In turn, I was concerned that would rub off on them. The culture was is jeopardy and I did not want to contribute the failure. It was time for me to step up.
I knew I had to bring life back into the environment. I owed it to my team so I got to work. It would be an upward battle but I was determined not to give up. I still had passion for my job and my team counted on me. Leaders must realize the impact they have on their surroundings.
First thing I had to do was get my head back into the game. It was not fair for my people or me if I was not giving it my all every day. Furthermore, I could not expect my team to give me their best effort if I was not doing the same. I decided then and there we would persevere and create our own culture. We had really good people in the organization and I needed to do what I could to save them from leaving.
Do not get me wrong, you have to be mind-strong if you are going to initiate a culture change. It is extremely challenging and it requires you to step out of your comfort-zone. You may face adversity but you have to fight for what you believe in. That is what makes you a leader. People have to trust you and know you have their best interest at heart.
From the beginning of my career, I have recognized how critical the culture is to the success of the organization. If the culture is compromised and you are in a position of leadership, it is your responsibility to take action. You must lead through the instability and find ways to develop comradery. If you do not react, you will be left with chaos and an organization full of mistrust. People will leave.
Looking back over all my experiences, I grew passionate about helping others create the culture they need to prosper. No culture is the same, nor should it be. It is important to know what you want to be known for and stick by those values. Any compromise to those values will derail the entire mission. Most importantly, make hiring and firing decisions based on your core values. Do not tolerate bad managers.