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  • Writer's pictureDerek Rusher

CEO POV: Cultivating a Thriving Workplace Culture

Welcome back to CEO POV, where we continue to explore topics in leadership from my point of view. In our previous discussions on time management and leadership strategies, we've laid the groundwork for what I feel would lead anyone to success by mastering the art of prioritization and embracing visionary, relational, and supportive leadership approaches. Today, we embark on a journey into the heart of every thriving organization: Workplace Culture.

Unearthing the Roots of Culture

During my time working for Team Concepts and being mentored by Josh Erickson, I learned to articulate what I experienced in a positive team growing up in my family and playing on teams that were like a family. I was fortunate to be part of great cultures, I just didn't know how to explain it and probably never really thought about it either.

Culture – derived from the Latin word "cultus," meaning to cultivate – is much like tending to a fertile crop. Just as a farmer must diligently nurture and weed their crops to yield a bountiful harvest, leaders must cultivate and shape the culture of their organizations to foster growth, resilience, and unity. At its core, culture encompasses the thoughts, actions, behaviors, and speech of a group of people, serving as the bedrock upon which organizational success is built.

Cultivating a Positive Workplace Culture

So now what? Building a strong workplace culture is not a passive endeavor; it requires intentionality, dedication, and unwavering commitment. To be honest, I try to cultivate a positive culture with my Chamber team every day but it's hard. As Gary Vaynerchuk and many others have said, "You don't build culture by offering free snacks or a gym membership. You build culture by talking to people, and understand what they care about." Like a skilled gardener, leaders must actively cultivate and promote desirable traits while uprooting and eliminating undesirable ones. This entails fostering an environment of trust, respect, and transparency, where every individual feels valued, supported, and empowered to contribute their unique talents and perspectives. One major key that gets lost in a positive culture is that building a positive culture is also weeding out the things that don't lead to success. It's important to have expectations around your workplace of what is allowed and what isn't. How have you cultivated in your workplace?

Action Items for Cultivating Culture

To cultivate a positive and strong workplace culture, consider implementing the following action items:

1. Lead by Example: The most important way to change and retain a positive culture is by setting the tone for the desired culture through your own actions, behaviors, and communication style. I feel it is important to be authentic, empathetic, and approachable, and demonstrate a genuine commitment to the values and principles you wish to instill. What are some things you do to lead by example?

2. Promote Open Communication: Create opportunities for transparent and honest communication across all levels of the organization. Encourage feedback, actively listen to teammate concerns and suggestions, and foster a culture of collaboration and mutual respect. TEAMWORK! What are some things you do to promote open communication?

3. Recognize and Celebrate Success: Acknowledge and celebrate the achievements and contributions of your team members regularly. This can be tough because some leaders have their eyes down grinding but don't forget to keep your head up. Whether through formal recognition programs, team outings, or simple expressions of gratitude, make it a priority to celebrate wins and milestones together. I love to celebrate and have fun and I believe that type of attitude can be contagious in a workplace too. What are some things you do to celebrate success?

4. Invest in Employee Development: Support the professional growth and development of your team members through training, mentorship, and educational opportunities. I am a long-life learner therefore I try to empower my team to acquire new skills, pursue their passions, and advance their careers if chosen.

5. Foster a Sense of Belonging: Create a sense of belonging and camaraderie within the workplace by organizing team-building activities, social events, and initiatives that include all teammates. Encourage collaboration, friendship, and a shared sense of purpose among your team members, which is easier said than done. What are some things you do to build camaraderie?

Conclusion: Nurturing a Unified Team

In conclusion, building a strong workplace culture is not merely about perks and incentives; it's about cultivating a shared vision and a sense of belonging that transcends individual roles and responsibilities. Just as the best sports teams are not always the most talented but the most unified, an engaged and positive culture is the cornerstone of organizational success. By fostering a culture of trust, respect, and collaboration, we can create environments where individuals thrive, teams flourish, and collective aspirations become reality.

Join me next time as we delve into another critical aspect of leadership, Creativity, which is the first trait of my 5 C's of Leadership, and it's always through the lens of CEO POV.

Until then, remember: culture is not just something we have; it's something we intentionally cultivate and nurture every single day.

Thanks for reading. 



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