Culture is Contagious!

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There is a funny thing that happens when you talk to people.

They start to share their ideas.

I know. Crazy. Right?

We have been conditioned in life to unconsciously quickly learn the rules of an organization/institution – and then fit in as best we can. It happens at early age, and school is a big accelerator. In school we quickly learn the “rules” of what success looks like. We find out what the teacher wants, the values of our peer groups, and we do our best to excel in that framework. It’s not about authenticity – it’s about playing the game.

By the time we have gone through school, and then college, we are pros at learning this dance. Once we get hired into a new job, we quickly breakdown the culture and do our best to effectively fit in.

If you are not careful, you may start to believe that everyone “agrees” with the culture. You might even think that you are the only one who thinks differently. So as a result, coupled with the fear of stepping out of the norm, most of us go along with the culture, biting our tongue, protecting our necks, and covering our….rear end. (Notice the number of body analogies we have corporate survival.)

After awhile, we might even forget that there is another alternative, and still believing that we are alone in thinking there is another way – we give up and accept the culture – as broken as it may be.

But don’t. Keep talking.

Keep having conversations with people. Be curious. Ask people what they think. Get them interested.

It may take time to get beneath the layer of safety, but once they trust you they will tell you how they really feel. Odds are, they may have a lot of the same ideas as you – they just never felt safe enough to share them.

My guess is that this is the reality in most organizations in the world. Employees walk around “pretending” the culture is fine – when it is not. But, when you start to build a little trust, and really hear what people think – the energy can be contagious. I have seen it. I have felt it. It is unbelievable the momentum that can happen when a few people start to connect and share their ideas. They will come out of the word work. Transformation can take place!

It might not happen overnight. But it can and will happen. Are you persistent enough to keep prodding? Are you patience enough to keep asking? Are you courageous enough to keep dealing with the resistance along the way?

You are capable. You can do it.

And, if you need someone to help you along – give us a call!


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