Your culture is your atmosphere. It’s up to you as the leader to create that culture.

By Dennis McIntee, The Leadership Process

I grew up in southwest Florida. If you have ever been to that area of the country, you know there are a plethora of citrus trees. Everywhere you turn, you see an orange grove or grapefruit trees. Growing up in Florida gave me a love for oranges.

A couple of weeks ago while speaking to a group of administrators in northern Indiana, I noticed, there were no orange trees there in Indiana. What’s the problem, Indiana? Where are the oranges? Okay. It’s a foolish question. Of course, there are no orange trees in the Midwest. They do not have the right environment that’s conducive to produce oranges. But have you ever thought, this is also true of your organization?  

If you do not create the right environment, you will not produce that fruit.

You might have the seeds of a great organization. Possibly, you have the seeds of an excellent marketing strategy, a beautiful facility or solid referral relationships, but without the right environment, those seeds will not produce. Just as I can’t expect to plant orange seeds in Indiana and have healthy orange trees, you can’t think just because you have the right seeds you’re guaranteed to reap that harvest. It takes something more.

Your culture determines the harvest those seeds produce.

What kind of harvest do you want? Stop focusing only on your seeds, but look at your atmosphere. Your culture is your atmosphere. It is the collective thoughts, feelings, values, beliefs and needs of your entire workforce. Because you can’t see thoughts or needs, it does make it a little tricky to create. But don’t give up. In over 20 years of working with leaders to develop drama-free cultures, I’ve discovered there are only three main questions you have to answer when framing a high-trust, high-performing environment that gets results.

The 3 Questions Every Leader Needs To Ask When Framing Culture:

  1. What do I need from you?

    Our needs drive our behavior. The challenge is that most people don’t even know what their needs are. As a leader, first, get clarity on what you need.

  2. What do you need from me?

    People act to get needs met. Creating clarity about their needs allows leaders to have a logical conversation about those issues. Get to the spider and stop dealing with the web of emotion.

  3. How will we resolve conflict?

    When you have more than two people together, you will have conflict. You can’t avoid it. The teams that have the healthiest conflict obtain the best results.

Culture is created every day. Not in one meeting. It’s up to you as the leader to create culture. The culture you’re creating is determining the results you are enjoying.