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Creating Culture By Robert McFarland


The Four Steps to Creating Culture

When Joshua was leading the Israelites into the Promised Land, they were entering an area where idolatry was rampant, child sacrifice was common, and ritual prostitution was the norm of the culture. God told them not to do all the all the detestable practices of the nations they were displacing, or else they would be defiled by those practices (Leviticus 18:26-30). As a result, the Israelites had to establish their culture in the land, and not be influenced by the culture of the inhabitants of the land. In sum, God wanted them to be culture pioneers.

Your workplace likely needs you to be a culture pioneer. Based on research conducted by Gallup, Inc., business has been stuck in unhealthy managerial models for a long time. Every year, Gallup releases their State of the American Workplace report, which details the dysfunctional condition of workplaces in America. Their 2017 report was no exception.

Gallup’s Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton summarized it well: “These figures indicate an American leadership philosophy that simply doesn’t work anymore. One also wonders if the country’s declining productivity numbers point to a need for major workplace disruption.”[i] Unfortunately, many businesses don’t even realize that their leadership models are unhealthy. As a result, they do not realize that their leadership style is causing many of their problems.

But workplaces can be environments where people thrive. You can produce an environment where people are valued and appreciated. You can produce a workplace where the humanity of employees is affirmed. And when employees feel valued, then they will provide more value to the people they serve.

You will find a template to design cultural change at your workplace using a strategy composed of the following four actions. This process of culture change can be implemented and applied through the process of what is taught, what is celebrated, what is modeled, and what is permitted.

What You Teach

Leadership must teach their team what they want them to know about their culture. Training must be an active component of the workplace. The values that are important to leadership must be actively taught.

What You Celebrate

Leadership must recognize, reward, and reinforce the behaviors they want to perpetuate throughout the organization. As a result, the team will repeat and replicate the behaviors.

What You Model

Leadership must personify the change they want to see in their workplace culture. The team will not buy into the change if leadership is not wholeheartedly committed to it. The change must be seen before it will be copied.

What You Permit

Leadership must be serious about follow through. If the leaders allow behavior that goes against their core values, it will undermine all their active efforts to change the culture through teaching, celebrating, and modeling.

Culture change will require intentionality of design and consistency of implementation over a prolonged period of time. By implementing these intentional steps, you can change how you perceive your role in your workplace and use your newfound influence to effect the change you want to see. It is my hope and prayer that you will be changed as much through this process as your workplace will be. Someday may you see how many lives you have transformed because of your culture pioneering efforts.

[i] Gallup, Inc., State of the American Workplace (Washington, D.C.: Gallup, 2017); accessed at http://www.gallup.com/reports/199961/state-american-workplace-report-2017.aspx.

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Robert McFarland is the author of the #1 international best seller, Dear Boss: What Your Employees Wish You Knew. Robert is also Blogger-in-Chief at RobertMcFarland.net, where he helps intentional Christians lead impactful lives, and he is President of Transformational Impact LLC, an executive leadership development consultancy helping leaders achieve the results they want in business and in life. He can be reached at robert@transformationalimpactllc.com.

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