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Culture is defined by what is being rewarded and what is being tolerated.

Every work place has a culture, even if you are self employed.

The basic definition of a work place culture is defined by what is being rewarded and what is being tolerated.

Most companies create wonderful "Core Values" that their company adheres too, but these are about as much use as a "chocolate fireguard" if you are not upholding them.

I spend a lot of time in companies providing training for teams and management.

The number of times I witness a "blind eye" being turned to individual employees/teams and even some execs who are blatantly disregarding the "Core Values" and because they know nobody will do anything about it, they are basically "giving the bird" to the core values.

This becomes the norm, because when others witness this violation of the "Core Values" and see that there is no consequence they too start to follow the example set.

I have demonstrated this in the training that I run; I will deliberately allow a member of the team to break a rule around an activity, when that team member notices that they have got away with it, they will try it again, and once they realise that nobody is picking them up on it, they repeatedly break the rule. Other members of the team then notice this and will either follow suit or start to infringe on other rules. By the end of the activity the majority of the rules have been broken and the team believe that they have completed the activity.

During the unpack of the activity I call out the rule breakers, and very often they respond with comments such as - "But I thought as you (meaning me, the facilitator) hadn't said anything it meant it was Ok" or.."it was only a slight break of the rules".

I have even seen people behave like school kids and blaming and shifting the responsibility so they don't get into trouble.

When we relate this back to the work place and some of the tasks that team does, it becomes abundantly clear that any infringement, breaking or violation of the rules, directions or standards would not only jeopardise that particular part of the job, but other areas of the company and possibly tarnish the entire company the "penny drops".

So, I say again, what you are rewarding and what you are tolerating will create your work place culture.

Just take a moment to ask yourself, what are you rewarding in your workplace? And as you do this, ponder this perspective...by turning a "blind eye" are you actually rewarding that behaviour?

As a Human Behavioural Specialist, I understand all to well the difficulty in running a well balanced team with regard to enforcing the rules/standards.

On one side of the equation you don't want to be seen as a dictator and to be constantly chastising and picking people up, but on the other side of the equation you don't want to be seen as soft, weak or without a backbone.

It is a horrible situation to find yourself in, and then the internal dialogue starts and you say things such as this to yourself...

"How come it is my responsibility to do this all the time"

"They should know better by now"

"Why do I always have to be seen as the bad guy"

"Why is nobody else picking this up"

Ultimately, we think it is unfair, and that we will be labelled and eventually seen as a pain in the backside and become disconnected from our colleagues.

This is a natural reaction, after all it is one of the 3 universal fears of all human beings...

"The fear of becoming disconnected"

And when this fear plays out, we tend to "calm our farm" and turn a blind eye once in a while...

But, as I discussed earlier in the training that I ran, we see that the "blind eye" turning quickly leads to anarchy and standards/safety etc fall.

So, how can we get around this?

By having "Core Values" that everyone can buy in too.

By investing into those "Core Values" and educating all of the workforce about them and why they are "Core" to the business.

Even more, by recruiting based upon those "Core Values" and where necessary...firing based upon them as well.

If you read my previous article you will know that I am researching Millennials in the work place at the moment, and as they are expected to make up 75% of the workforce by the end of 2020 they are an important element to consider.

Millennials thrive on "Core Values" and will often select an employer based on that companies "Core Values"...

Yes that is right, Millennials do not take any job that comes along, they seek out the company that will best fit them, because they are all about the experience and when they see that "Core Values" are not upheld and adhered to, they will leave faster than rats leaving a sinking ship.

So, if you are experiencing a high turn over of Millennial staff, you could have a culture problem, a "Core Values" problem or you are just not providing a fulfilling experience for your employees.

Whatever the problem is, it will be costing you a minimum of one third of that positions annual salary.

Even more, as we saw demonstrated in the training scenario I discussed earlier, it is also infectious. As others will see this and will follow suit.

So, ask yourself, now you know all of this, and you can probably relate to at least 1 or 2 members of staff who are doing this...ask yourself, what are you going to do about it?

How are you going to address this?

When are you going to do it?

and most importantly of all......how are you going to stop it from recurring?

I hope you have found this article useful and insightful, I am a Professional Personal Development Coach for business and teams. I train people in Human Behaviour and I get the maximum from your greatest asset....your employees.

If you want to discuss this further, please check out my website

or email me


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