Who Cares About Work Culture? Everybody. Here's How to Step Yours Up

Leadership Speaker

Leaders say it all the time; my people are just not motivated. Not true. People aren't, not motivated; we are only motivated by different things. Your culture doesn't speak to your people, so it's not a culture at all. If your culture is weak, so are your relationships between employees and customers.

Do your people drag their feet into work and wallow in negativity? Restless and disengaged teams suffer from a weak work culture. 

Everybody wants to feel like they belong. We all want to know that we matter, and our ideas and contribution are worthwhile. Why do so many leaders struggle with morale? Because your culture doesn't resonate with your people. They don’t feel like they belong.

Build more passionate players on your team by strengthening your culture. 

A positive work culture helps people feel and perform their best at work. Your workplace culture is the vibe, personalities, and tone of your organization.

Some work cultures play it too safe and water down their message to engage the most people; instead, they end up engaging nobody. Instead, embrace uncertainty and lean into the passion of your team to build culture. What do you stand for? What do your teams and customers believe? Your culture impacts every aspect of your business, yet most organizations spend very little time nurturing it. According to Deloitte's corporate culture research, 88% of employees think a distinct corporate culture is critical to success. 

When you have a distinct, positive workplace culture, people feel like they belong. They feel valued for their contribution. 



Ask Team Members:

  • Do we have a distinct culture?
  • How would you describe it?
  • Why does it matter to our customers?

Next, observe how people behave, their work ethic, how they deal with conflict, and how they speak to each other. Add all of this up and you get a picture of your culture.



People crave meaning and purpose in their work; without it, morale takes a beating. A high work culture needs to revolve around the meaning of the work. How do we solve problems? How do customers count on us? This should be the core of your culture. Drill down to the core purpose of your work to clarify who you are and what you do. 




A culture is a feeling. It's the feeling employees have when they do their job. It's a feeling customers have when they deal with your company. 


Ask Employees and Customers:

  • How do you feel about our products ( or services)?
  • How do you feel about interacting with our people?

Once you know what your teams and customers think and feel about your culture, you are ready to redefine it or elevate it. Look at how your culture drives performance or sales right now. Does it? If not, it needs to solidify.

Decide what you want teams and customers to think and feel when they work with you. Some cultures are uplifting; some are fun; some cultures are action-oriented, while others are built around meaning and making a difference.

Next, you have to build your recruiting, marketing, and management practices around your culture.




Leadership speaker Craig Groeschel says leadership is the art of leading someone to do something you want them to do because they want to do it.

Getting people to do what we want is called the art of influence. Great influencers can get into the minds of others and make your culture and ideas resonate with them.

Unlock people's highest potential and unlock their fears by cultivating a consistent daily pursuit to understand others. See how they are resonating with your culture.

Three tips to influence others:

  • Remember, fear is hugely motivating; however, once fear is removed, so is motivation. When people don't perform, and leaders let it slide, the behavior will motivate in the wrong direction. Thus, we can motivate people to be lazy, inconsistent, and underperform. Consistently allowing bad performance will deeply demoralize a team. Instead, discipline lousy behavior and show how underperformance affects others.  Also, show people how others view them.


  • Avoid recognizing mediocrity. Praise gets out of hand when it's showered all over the place for routine work. Get out of the routine of trading perks and promises for work; this is the job. Dangling a carrot in front of someone, manipulates them into doing your job. You can inadvertently cheapen internal satisfaction.


  • Model motivation. Your team follows your model. If you're not motivated, your team won't be either.


As a leadership speaker, I suggest contemplating the following questions:

  • What is the most demotivating thing you do in your leadership?
  • What are the problems you tolerate?




If you are clear on culture, recruiting is a breeze. You want to hire people who believe in the ideas your culture reinforces. If you have a fun culture, hire fun people. If you have a youthful culture that attracts young customers, employ young people. If your culture is more serious or informative, look for new hires with those values.

Some people are book smart. They have a lot of knowledge stored in their brain. If they don't have specific information, they know how to find it.  Their brain thrives on data, and they may feel uncomfortable without it. Others are quite the opposite and are more action-oriented. It can impact several factors on your team, including conflict management.

Thinkers tend to attack a problem with research and then cautiously take action on it. 

What's challenging about this personality type is they need to be armed with a lot of information before they can take action. They also have to contemplate the news a lot. Thus, they tend to be cautious, slower to act, and they may even be a perfectionist. They have to research the heck out of anything before they can move forward.

Doers are more action-oriented and ready to jump into things and learn as they go. 



To determine if you are interviewing a thinker or a doer, ask them about their history. If they have mostly standard book smart, school-oriented achievements, they are thinkers. If they have a lot more actual accomplishments, projects, and sports, then they are doers. Also, find out how long it takes them to see a project or activity through.  

Leadership speaker Jim Collins says it's much easier to educate a doer than to activate a thinker.

The people you choose are more relevant​ to your culture​ than the roles they do. Thus, decide what tasks team members are best suited. 

High culture has an attitude of yes. Whatever the dilemma that comes along, the answer is yes, we can help. 

Difficult Cultures only see problems, not solutions. Anytime a problem comes along, they look for a reason why something won't work. Instead of taking responsibility, they place blame.  As a customer, every challenge you bring to the company feels like a burden- you know it will be a problem.

Leadership speaker, Craig Groeschel suggests in his leadership podcast; you can make an excuse, or you can make a difference, but you can't do both. 

Groeschel suggests the qualities of a Difficult Culture are:

  • Unclear vision
  • Weak communication
  • Avoidance of tough issues
  • Little feedback
  • Limited contribution solutions are abrasive.
  • Problems get ignored
  • No clear direction, goals, and follow up.


All of these elements influence blaming others and skirting responsibility. Thus, the problem often goes unsolved, and a fallback position that says create barriers. It upsets customers, and team members as evolution becomes impossible. 

Craig Groeschel is a Leadership Speaker and Pastor at Life Church whose mission is to lead people to become entirely devoted to Christ.



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