Sometimes, we need to look at the absence of something to really understand how valuable it is.
Take hot water as an example: it might not seem like a big deal… until you have to take cold showers in the winter. Clean clothes, three meals a day, … the list goes on and on.
A similar approach can be helpful when it comes to company culture. Trust, respect, or humility might all seem like cherries on top of the cake. But if a culture lacks these qualities, you’ll quickly come to see how critical they really are.
Let’s take a look at some core qualities and see what happens when they’re present — and when they’re missing!
“I know my colleagues have the best interests of the group in mind. I choose to trust them and believe they make sound decisions.”
“I give only little leeway to my subordinates, because they can’t be trusted. I choose to micromanage them and make all decisions myself.”
“I don’t believe I’m ‘above’ (or below) anyone else. I treat my colleagues kindly and respectfully.”
“I look at people mostly as their roles and believe they’re only here to fulfill a job.”
“I understand that this whole show is not about me. I also understand that I cannot reach big goals alone, without my colleagues.”
“I believe I can control everything. I believe I’m always the smartest person in the room.”
“I understand where the team and the company are headed. With this knowledge, I can make better decisions and contribute on a higher level. I feel included and connected to the company’s goals and purpose.”
“I’m uncertain about the company’s future as well as my own. Not knowing the bigger picture, I have a hard time making the best decisions. Uncertainty and secrecy make it hard for me to feel part of the organization and commit fully.”
“I take full responsibility of every aspect of my work. I don’t look for excuses. I don’t look for ways to lay the blame on someone else.”
“This is not my fault. This is not my problem. This is not what I was hired for.”
These short with-or-without comparisons make clear how important many of these “soft factors” really are. We can’t expect a company to run smoothly — to be successful and profitable — if our culture is mostly in a “without” state.