Four Signs of a Toxic Culture

Four Steps that Make Your Company Culture Spiral Downward

Your culture defines how things are done at your organization. But it’s possible your culture defines how things are not done at your organization. Instead of moving your organization forward, it’s possible your culture is holding you back. If that’s the case, you have a toxic culture.

toxic culture

A toxic culture makes everything more difficult at your organization. Eventually a toxic culture will cause you to lose your best people, decrease your productivity, and reduce your profitability. And it will only get worse unless it’s identified and addressed.

Here are four signs that you have a toxic culture at your workplace.

Why Even CEOs Need Leadership Coaching

CEOs Need Leadership Coaching More Than Anyone Else

CEOs need leadership coaching. It may not seem like it because they are already in the top job. But the fact is that CEOs need leadership coaching probably more than anyone else in the organization.

leadership coaching

Now, it’s true that you want to build your future leaders through leadership coaching. They do need to be coached in how to lead better than they currently do. No one disputes that. But many CEOs don’t realize they need leadership coaching for themselves.

Here are four reasons why CEOs need leadership coaching more than anyone else in the organization.

Why You Should Consider a Culture Audit

Ignorance About Your Company Culture Is Not Bliss

I recently conducted a culture audit for a company that has an outstanding culture. This company has had a meteoric rise in its six years, especially considering the serious challenges they have overcome in their first years. But a surprising number of employees felt that they were being treated unfairly and that their colleagues were not pulling their full weight. And they would not have known that their employees felt that way without the audit.

culture audit

I’ve found that the worse the culture at an organization, the less likely they want to do anything to fix the culture. It’s the companies that have a good culture—like the one I just did the audit for—that want to make their culture even better.

Ignorance about your company culture is not bliss. Here are three reasons why you should consider having a culture audit.

Stop Trying to Find Happiness

Finding Meaning Is More Fulfilling

When you ask people what they want out of life, they often say that they “want to be happy.” But research has shown that happiness isn’t as fulfilling as we might think it is.

happiness

Roy Baumeister and other social psychologists published a study in the Journal of Positive Psychology investigating the difference between meaningfulness and happiness.

Based on their investigation, here are three findings that they discovered.

New Situations Require New Paradigms

Do you want to get what you’ve always got?

When I was in sixth grade, I was pretty good at guessing. I couldn’t see the blackboard that well from where I sat, so I learned how to recognize the patterns of the letters and numbers. But when I was preparing to go to junior high, I thought it would be worth getting glasses so that I could see the board. I knew I would be at a new school with new kids I had never met before, so I figured that would be a good time to make the change and get new glasses. If I wanted to see the board, I realized I would have to make a change. I couldn’t expect to see the board without doing something different. As much as I didn’t want to have glasses, I wanted to be able to see the board more. So I was willing to make a change. Because new situations require new paradigms.

Paradigms

You will face similar situations in your life. You may not want to have to change, but you will feel the pain of not changing is greater than the discomfort of doing something different.

I tell my clients all the time that if you always do what you’ve always done, then you will always get what you’ve always got. The thinking that brought you to where you are is not usually the thinking that will get you to where you want to go. You have to be willing to change the way that you think. Because new situations require new paradigms.

Based on the parable Jesus told in Luke 5:36-39, here are three ways people resist making changes in how they perceive things.

The Goal is the Pursuit, Not the Goal

Focus on the Journey, Not the Destination

Here in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia where I live, we have horses on our property. But these horses are skittish. If you approach one of the horses by walking toward it, the horse will run away from you. It will think that you are a predator coming after it. In order to approach the horse, you cannot walk toward it directly. You have to walk like you’re going somewhere else, and approach the horse indirectly. If the horse thinks that it is the focus of your pursuit, you won’t be able to get to the horse. But if it thinks that you are pursuing something else, then you will be able to get to the horse.

Pursuit

That situation is like so many other things in life: You can’t focus on what your goal directly, or else your goal will prove elusive. You have to pursue something else in order to get to your ultimate goal. Because the goal is the pursuit, not the goal.

Here are three situations where you cannot focus on your destination, but instead you must focus on the journey.

How Do You Define Yourself?

What Gives You Your Identity?

What makes you you? When someone says to you, “Tell me about yourself,” what do you say? Are you the profession you chose? Are you the organizations that you belong to? Or are you your ethnicity? What is it that you allow to define yourself?

define yourself

Many people assume their identity stems from who they believe they are, and many take their identity from external realities. When asked what they do, they respond, “I am an architect.” Or “I am a dentist.” By responding that way, they allow their profession to define them.

Others define themselves by the organizations they are part of. They may say, “I am the NRA.” Or “Once a Marine, always a Marine.” I think it’s great to be part of organizations. God made people to be relational, so it is perfectly fine to be part of organizations. But when people allow organizations to define them to the point of giving them their identity, then that becomes a problem.

Then there are others who allow themselves to be defined by their ethnicity. They may describe themselves as Scottish, or Chinese, or African (all three of those ethnicities live in my house), and I think it’s great to be proud of your ethnic heritage. But when your ethnicity defines who you are, then you lose your identity to your national origin.

So how should you think about your identity? Here are three principles to guide your thinking in that context.

Your Business Is God’s Business

Why Your Work Matters to God

I’ve been asked many times throughout my career if I am a pastor. And since I am not ordained, I respond in the negative. But I am a minister. And for that matter, so are you. Because your business is God’s business.

God's business

What you do for a living matters to God. While God wants some of us to become pastors, He does not want all of His kids to become pastors. He wants some of us to be involved in the business world. By serving Him in business, we can be ministers of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-20) to those we work with, those we work for, and those who work for us.

God wants you to do your work so that others see Him in your work. You do that best when you conduct yourself as a person of integrity. God wants you to do the right thing even if no one is there to check up on you. He wants you to use, what Proverbs 16:11 (NIV) calls, “honest scales.”

Based on Proverbs 16:11, here are three reasons why “honest scales” are important in God’s business.

Consider Your Personality Trajectory

Who You Hang Around Influences Who You Will Become

How’s your personality trajectory? Do you like the person you are becoming? Do you feel you are becoming more like the person you want to be? If not, it may have something to do with the people you hang around. You will become like who you hang around.

personality trajectory

Think through what kind of person you want to become. And consider the people you hang around. To change your personality trajectory, allow yourself to meet new people. You will become like the people you surround yourself with.

Here are three key questions you must ask yourself in order to be aware of the influence that the people you hang around have over you.

Clean the Barnacles off of Your Mind

Remove What Has Become Attached to Your Thinking

Have you ever seen barnacles attached to a ship? These little crustaceans latch onto a marine vessel and hold onto the ship to feed. While they may seem harmless enough, they cause many problems for the vessel. Similarly, you can have things that become attached to your mind over time. You may not be aware of them at first, but eventually they can cause you many problems.

barnacles

People who work on a ship understand that it’s important to remove the barnacles. In the same way, it’s important for you to get remove these things that have become attached to your mind.

Here’s what you want to prevent becoming attached to your mind, how they are similar to barnacles, and what you can do to clean those things from your mind.