As leaders, one of our biggest goals is to develop a positive, collaborative, and fun culture within our teams, work groups, and organizations. Thought leaders drive home the notion of communication, culture ownership, prioritization, and structure to build "great culture." Without undercutting the importance of these initiatives, I think we are missing the small behaviors that contribute to the creation of an amazing culture.

Steve Jobs once said "We've got to make the small things unforgettable," and while he was talking about technology and innovation not culture, the advice is no less applicable today. We need to shift our mindset to build a culture that values the small things, creating a culture that smiles. :)
  • Respect everyone - Deep respect, appreciation, and kindness in loving people as humans and as individuals. As a leader, if we come from a place of love, it will naturally shape how we communicate and deliver on the small things important to our teams.
  • Trust first, doubt later - Trust your team. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Allow them to exceed our expectations. Don't be a micro-manager, hovering over every move. Give them space to make mistakes and space to excel. Trusting our teams will show appreciation for their contribution, a small step with a large impact.
  • Fully support business initiatives - While we may have some reservations, teams look to see how we implement change - good or bad. Help explain the "whys" behind decisions. Be positive about future possibilities. Give 110% to making the change a success. Remember, quality of change X communication of change = success of change!
  • Praise and thank continually - Need I say more? We don't understand how important this is for our teams. A "great job today" and a "thank you" change dinner table conversations and mean the world to our teams.
  • Leverage talents - We need to recognize the individual talents of our teams. Give them opportunities to shine. Appreciate diversity - not just on the surface, but diversity of ideas, background, and beliefs.
What do you think? How do you create a culture that smiles?
Concepts, inspiration, and quotes from Day 9: What Makes God Smile?, Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren
Photo: The If Life

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