Another year is winding down. While not everyone may have a Dec 31st fiscal year-end, the close of a calendar year is always a good time to take stock. How happy are you with 2017?
As you reflect on the past 12 months, what were the key accomplishments of your teams? Where did your company move the strategic direction forward? How is your culture, the enabler of strategy, stronger than it was this time last year?
Recognizing 2017 accomplishments with gratitude
One of the most common asks in our culture assessments is for more recognition. When we ask respondents what they’re looking for with this ask, many times it’s just about a thank you. It’s about appreciation and gratitude, not monetary rewards. Martin Seligman, the founding father of positive psychology, has researched the positive effects of gratitude on the performance and well-being on an individual. The gift of giving thanks not only impacts the receiver of gratitude, it also impacts the giver.
Here are two exercises you can do to bring gratitude more fully into your workplace:
- Take a personal minute to make a list of 10 things in your workplace that you’re thankful for. Most importantly, record why you’re thankful. For example, I’m grateful for my amazing administrative assistant is only half the thought. I’m grateful for my amazing administrative assistant because the work she does keeps me on track no matter how crazy my day gets is a deeper and a more concrete statement of appreciation.
- Set up a gratitude wall in your workplace. Invite your employees to share the things they’re thankful for. This exercise will give you a perspective on the things that are working well in your organization. You may also be surprised about the items that are missing. If no one mentions they’re thankful for the coaching their manager gives them, it might be time to look at your manager development programs. Do they have the tools and skills to be an amazing manager?
Setbacks and Success
How will your 2018 results be better than 2017? As a leader in your organization you know that one of your most critical roles is to continually grow the business. A stagnant bottom line is a leader’s worst nightmare. And an inactive approach to culture can be a boat anchor to achieving your desired outcomes. What are you most frustrated about when you look back at your 2017 results?
Imagine sitting at your desk a year from now. Imagine your organization has achieved its 2018 goals and then some. How will you feel? Will you be proud of your employees? Will you be excited to share the results with your leader or Board of Directors? Will you have a sense of joyful anticipation for the next financial analyst call? Will you be energized and eager for 2019?
Albert Einstein described insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Are you caught up in this hamster wheel of insanity? He also said “creativity is intelligence having fun.” Wouldn’t you rather have fun than go insane at work? I believe it’s time to get creative with culture.
Culture is about working for people and building happier and more productive workplaces. What could give you more enjoyment than to stand back and observe all your employees working with passion? Gone are the days of a rotating door of employees being hired and departing. Dealing with difficult people has shifted to teams of employees feeling empowered to deliver amazing results. What will you do differently in 2018 when it comes to your culture?
To get your thought processes lit up around this question, here’s our handy Culture Transformation Checklist. Consider it a quick audit of the things you need more of in order to keep your culture evolving to meet changing business needs.
Personal reflections on 2017
I’m grateful for all the people who have supported my work to build better workplaces during the year because they have fueled my passion along the way. I’m grateful to my clients who took the plunge to dig deep into their culture because seeing them become so engaged in this important work brings me much joy. I’m grateful to all the conference organizers who gave me a platform to share my message because, quite frankly, it’s just so much fun to work with your audiences!
And thank YOU for coming with me on this journey and sharing your advice, insights and perspectives on the world of culture.