You’ve probably heard it a million times:
“Designing and building a strong company culture is fundamental to success. But it’s also super hard.”
Sounds about right?
Well, it’s not. It’s a blatant lie. Three lies, to be precise, skillfully rolled into one.
Lie #1: Culture change is the hardest work you will ever do.
Many of the leaders I meet through my work as a culture strategist seem to have resigned themselves to the “fact” that building a healthy culture, or — God forbid! — changing a culture is harder than building a spaceship.
I was at a conference once where the president of a large group of companies was asked what he would do if one of his companies had a toxic culture.
“Frankly speaking, I’d rather sell it than try to fix it.” — he admitted.
While disappointed, I was not surprised. Almost every “guru” writing or speaking on culture depicts it as an unwieldy, starving beast ready to gobble down your strategy — preferably for breakfast.
Here’s an excerpt from an otherwise great book on culture:
“Culture change is the hardest work you will ever do. (…) culture building taxes leaders more than all of their other work combined. It makes budgeting and forecasting and strategic thinking look like middle school playground games.”
No wonder that there aren’t many people on this planet who feel genuinely excited about working on their team culture. Who in their right mind would want to do work that taxes them more than budgeting, forecasting, and strategic thinking, combined? It sounds like death by a thousand cuts.
My experience with startups and end ups, SMEs, and Fortune 500 companies worldwide taught me that cultivating a healthy, adaptive culture doesn’t have to be torturous or excruciatingly hard. In fact, having fun, experimenting, and co-creating are…