On The Brink and Out the Door: How Employers Can Build a Culture that Matters



People don’t quit companies, they quit lousy bosses. – Jimmy Collins

I was in the car not long ago listening to an episode of the Dave Ramsey Show (http://bit.ly/NfZIDm) when a caller was describing to Dave how her husband was ready to quit his six-figure income because of a toxic work environment that had pushed him to the brink.

I couldn’t help but wonder how a person in such a financially secure position could walk away from it due to deplorable working conditions. Unfortunately, it’s a wide spread  problem for far too many people.

A Benefits Pro article (http://bit.ly/1ZZ4oeU) reveals some of the top reasons why many in the workplace are ready to bolt. Among the top reasons are: Low pay, awful commute, unreasonable workload, annoying co-workers, poor work/life balance, lack of opportunity for advancement, the boss, and layoff/firing fear, to name a few.

If you were to give yourself an honest assessment of your present circumstance would you find yourself in the position like the lady talking to Ramsey or perhaps a person described in the article above who for whatever the reason were ready to quit?

Perhaps you are an employer who is trying to make sense of poor morale and attitudes that reflect a disengagement that troubles you. Here are some steps you can take to begin to close the gap and build a culture that matters.

Look in the mirror

Building the kind of company workers would never dream of leaving begins by being the kind of leader everyone wants to follow. If workers are ready to walk out the door making six figures it likely has less to do with the company and more to do with the leader. Never stop growing and learning as a leader and before you try to grow others, grow yourself.

Get connected

It was John Maxwell who said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Unless you get this right, your organization will be a revolving door of talent who can and will go elsewhere. Building your company begins by building relationships. When your people mean more to you than your profits you will never have to worry about people walking out the door.

Build bridges

Building a culture of trust and openness begins when you connect your people to one another. While job descriptions and responsibilities may vary it is important that each person see the value of his or her role. Job titles and duties may vary but everyone brings talent and skills needed for success. Building a culture that matters begins when you bring people together, not when you keep them apart.

Embrace change

Building a culture that matters can only happen in an environment where change is allowed. The way things were done twenty years ago may have served you well at the time but how is it working now? Employee engagement is essential to your success and creative options exist today on levels that were not present a decade or two ago. Many an organization have lost their competitive edge simply because they were not ahead the curve as it relates to change. Don’t let your inability to change be the reason your best and brightest flee.

Be willing to prune

The truth is, some people are never happy unless they are unhappy. They are chronic complainers and whiners. They have bad attitudes and are the laggards on every decision to move forward. For them the glass is always half empty and they are always finding fault along with sowing seeds of strife. The old saying goes, “What you tolerate, you promote.”  In order to build a culture that matters in which everyone can thrive and reach their potential you must accept the reality that not everyone can or should take the journey with you. Let them go.

Give ownership

When your people are empowered they will seldom disappoint. It’s an age old principle that has been proven time and time again. When people have ownership and the power to make decisions at the closest level to the problem they will succeed. Sometimes the best thing you can do as a leader is to get out of the way. When there is a shared ownership of the mission and vision then everyone has a stake in the outcome. The key for you as a leader is to welcome your people into the process, not shut them out.

These are but a few practical steps that if implemented can start a process of closing your revolving door and building the kind of culture that you and your people can take pride in. Are you ready to get started?


© 2016 Doug Dickerson







About dougdickerson

I am Certified Leadership Trainer, author, columnist, and speaker. Husband to Alicia, father to Katelyn and Kara, and "Pop" to terrific grandson Tyson. I am an avid photographer, love the outdoors, and like to travel. I'm passionate about sharing my leadership insights and helping people reach their full potential.
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