Do you remember the old cliché, “what you are speaks so loudly, people can’t hear what you are saying”? How about “birds of a feather, flock together”?

What could these mean for you and I today?

There are so many discussions about culture, whether it is toxic, thriving, or anywhere in between. There is more training, speakers, and information available than Santa Claus has toys.

If what we are speaks so loudly, then culture is the language people speak in the workplace. There is a key element here though, like who you and I are, culture is the ‘who’ your work is without words. Culture is the language used in the workplace when people do not open their mouths. Culture is the way people interact with each other, when ‘a parent’ is not watching.

Let’s be honest, does it take you very long to learn what it takes to fit in with a group of people? It sure doesn’t for me, most of us have learned, often the hard way, that we are told to be honest, share what we think, contribute, as long as it is what those people want to hear!

The result becomes a culture where people fit in, do what is needed, or required, but not the extra. Performance expectations become aligned with this in no time.

The result? Leadership feels more pressure and responsibility for performance expectations – yet ironically it comes back to culture and what it takes to fit in [aka belong]. The result is the culture reflects the same persona. Yes, they come in different shapes and forms, but the mindset and values get shared. Meaning, Birds of a feather…

Some questions to encourage you

The motivation behind the workplace planning needs to be pure, not compliance, what would people say is the real motivation at your workplace? Whether it is for hiring, promotion, or performance expectations.

Is there a collective accountability or is there a lot of “that isn’t my job”? This will show up as when one needs help, they can ask and accept it. The shared thinking is “whatever it takes”, and less of “what’s in it for me”, not to mention the frequent finger pointing and blaming that gets seen.

Is there a focus on thriving relationships? Like anything, this is defined by the recipient not you and I. Can they trust, respect, and follow you and I, even when they may not always like us?

In the movie, Remember the Titans, there is a scene where Gerry and Julius are having an argument. When Gerry tells Julius that his attitude is the worst he’s ever seen, Julius says: “Attitude reflects leadership, captain.” (Referring to the leadership of Gerry.)

When it comes to performance and culture, leadership is seldom a position. It is that force that speaks so loudly that people do not hear what we are saying.

What are people hearing?

What are the real expectations from their performance?

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