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8 Commonly Misunderstood Aspects of Workplace Culture

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Summary: The most effective ways of addressing workplace culture are often misunderstood and looked over. Follow these 8 tips to change your workplace culture for the best.

Learn how you can improve the culture at your workplace in this article.

Culture is an important aspect to a successful work environment, but it can be difficult to pin down an exact definition. Every company has its own unique culture that is created by its employees and company values. Think of culture like personality. It is made up of values, beliefs, interests, experiences, habits, attitudes, language, priorities, behaviors and underlying assumptions.

You need a good work culture at your company because it surrounds you all the time, shaping your work enjoyment, relationships, and work processes. Work culture cannot be physically seen, but it is felt in every way. To help build a work culture worth sustaining you have to know where the problems lie. In order to improve your work culture, you have to understand it.
 
  1. Culture is developed through shared learning and mutual experiences.

Encouraging leadership and the entirety of the organization in a passage of sharing learning and mutual experience is the beginning point. Leadership involvement can start the process so that a clear identity and grasp of range can be pinpointed so that the entire team can be reached.
 
  1. Focus on a goal, challenge, or problem that affects the work culture instead of placing all the focus on changing the culture.

Culture can’t be changed overnight and can’t be forced. Finding a problem or challenge or creating a goal for everyone to work towards will go a lot farther and change the culture faster and easier. When your team has something to work towards together, they will share in the learning and overall experience.
 
  1. For a new cultural aspect to form there will be results and consequences first.

Some leaders want results now, so addressing culture takes a back burner. Behaviors in line with positive results will spread throughout the workplace. The results that work or don’t work will happen first and then affect how a cultural aspect is perceived.
 
  1. Most culture talk is actually climate talk.

Understanding the climate will allow you to see what the driving force in your work culture is. Behavior is greatly driven by cultural rules. Once the organizational climate is better understood, it is important to move to studying the underlying culture so that the impact each have on the work’s mission can be addressed.
 
  1. Assume defensive strategies instead of constructive approaches to problems.
Organizations focus on the “TO” side on concepts and completely neglect the “FROM” side. Understanding these norms will allow you to understand the beliefs, mind-sets, assumptions, and other factors that your employees have that are creating the norms. Jumping to conclusions without seeking a deep understanding will cause misdiagnoses of the culture problems.
 
  1. Engage groups repeatedly to define and refine plans.

Increase the chances of success by engaging your organization with a strong mission and direction through the FROM-TO shift. Moving beyond receiving general feedback to culture-related aspects or mission goals will greatly benefit your organization. Provide a mission or priorities for employees to support. An example would be determining how customer growth plans can be improved and how to adjust from perfectionist culture aspects to an achievement-oriented focus.
 
  1. Management, communication, and motivations must be adjusted.

Implementation is often the hardest part of fixing problems. Identifying how to improve your organization is relatively easy. The work culture is only fully understood when you try to change it. Areas to address that may be problem areas are management systems, motivation systems, and communication systems.
 
  1. Everything begins with a personal transformation.

Even if you address the other areas of culture transformation, if individuals, especially in leadership, do not cooperate, then no changes will be effective. Behaviors and mindset issues will continue to persist unless they personally change.
 
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