Should We Try to Preserve Our Workplace Culture?
By Eric Termuende – Speaker on Optimizing Workplace Culture, Future of Work, and Engagement in the Workplace
Ah yes, March 252nd. Here we are. And while it may seem like we’ve been stuck in the same place for months and that nothing has changed, hasn’t it felt everything has changed at the same time? Time is standing still and flying by simultaneously and life feels like it has been turned upside down and inside out. What I think we can all agree on though, is that what we’ve learned in the past 8 months has changed us, in one way, shape, or form. If we’ve changed, shouldn’t our culture, too?
While we haven’t explicitly stated it, nor are they etched on the wall in some fancy-flowing font, my partner and I have a mission and vision at home: To be healthy and happy together. Whether it was day one or year X together, we’ve always strived to create a welcoming, safe home for ourselves and anyone that comes to visit. And while our mission and vision haven’t changed over the years, our ‘culture’, or how we live together has changed with the move from the office to home, and how a pandemic has shaped our lives. To preserve the way we lived before would be to ignore what is happening to the world around us and how it changed our lives.
Culture then, isn’t just the mission and vision of a company or a team, is it how we interact with space, place, team, and fulfill the mission and vision. And when space, place, behaviors, communication styles, and even team size change, there is no doubt that culture changes as much as we do.
To preserve the culture of yesterday would be to ignore or discount the learning and developments of today.
As each week passes, we don’t just learn more about how the pandemic is shaping the world and how we work; we learn more about each other, how we work together, how to more effectively communicate with each other, and what it means to work and evolve in an uncertain world. To try and preserve yesterday’s best practice for the sake of it would mean to hinder growth and discovery.
Culture at the office is different than culture while working remotely: we don’t meet face-to-face and we communicate in different ways. At our meetings we see people in either ‘gallery’ or ‘speaker’ view and not all at once with a quick swivel of our heads at the boardroom table. Culture is how we interact, it is how we behave together, it is the habits we express and practice. As we grow and change, so does culture.
To preserve culture is to suggest we are static. And to be static means we fail to grow and learn. To fail to grow and learn means we’re stuck in the past and when we are stuck in the past we start to falter and fail. To preserve mission and vision is commendable and admirable. To preserve culture is to fall behind.
Questions to ponder:
- How have your interactions with your team changed over the past year?
- What habits have changed since March?
- Is your culture being preserved or developed?
- What can you do to learn from the team and implement change?
Eric Termuende is a thought leader on optimizing workplace culture, productivity & peak performance, the future of work, business strategies, and engagement in the workplace. He provides key actionable takeaways on how companies can drive engagement through connection and trust. Eric is the co-founder of NoW Innovations, a bestselling author (Rethink Work: Finding and Keeping the Right Talent, publisher: Barlow Book Publishing, 2017), and an international speaker. His work has been featured in Forbes, Inc., Thrive Global, the Huffington Post, Globe and Mail, and elsewhere. Termuende was recognized as a Top 100 Emerging Innovator under 35 globally by American Express, is a TEDx speaker, and represented Canada at the G20 Summit
Derek Sweeney is the Director of Speaker Ideas at The Sweeney Agency. www.thesweeneyagency.com. For 15 years Derek has been helping clients find the right Speakers for their events. Derek can be reached at 1-866-727-7555 or [email protected]