Often times we find ourselves victims of a toxic culture that we have inherited and even deem it to be a norm.
It doesn’t have to be like that, your culture is what will help build sustainable business and growth, it’s the process that guarantees the quality of the product.
In this blog post I would like to share a few thoughts on culture and how you can go about creating a healthy culture that will translate into every area of functioning as a business leader.
“As leaders, we are the ones who need to challenge culture, we need to create healthy cultures. “
What Is A Culture?
A culture is a combination of your beliefs, standards, expectations, the unwritten code that determines behaviour.
Your culture is shaped by your beliefs, because your beliefs is so powerful that if you believe the negative, you will be drawn towards the negative, if you believe towards the positive, you will be drawn towards the positive.
It’s always important even when approaching people and relationships to always have a positive belief in people because that creates a culture, but if you have a suspicious belief system in you, you’ll always be suspicious about relationships, people, events that happen and that will cause you to always be stressed and finding yourself in fear and anxiety because of a belief system which might have been formed by a traumatic experience that you had and that’s why you need to challenge that so that you’re able to learn.
Who Sets The Standards That You Have For You?
You need to elevate your standards and always check your standards against the standard globally because you can find yourself being a local success but not being able to compete at a global platform.
Ensure that your standard is not only limited or myopic in nature, but it’s a standard that looks over and above where you are and this is very key as a leader, always stretch yourself, what are others doing?
There’s a beautiful adage that speaks of someone equally talented and gifted as you are, and when opportunity presents itself, the one who will win is the one who has invested more time in learning and polishing and harnessing and stirring up their gift, talent and calling.
So ask yourself, if there was someone in a different country, who is equally gifted and you had to compete together, have you put in enough time to have an advantage or have you invested in your gift and calling or vocation so much so if given an opportunity, you’ll be able to be set apart?
Challenge your standards and your expectations, never allow the next person to hold you to higher expectations or to have higher expectations of you.
Ensure that as a leader, the expectations that you have of yourself are always higher than the expectations that others would have of you.
This is where the disconnect comes in, where you find yourself in a world where other people have higher expectations of you than you have of yourself, it will seem unfair, it will seem like they’re demanding a lot and that’s simply because you have not set high enough standards for yourself, and expect the best from you, expect excellence, expect 100%
“Believe in yourself, the first person who needs to believe in you is the person you see in the mirror.”Mzwandile Magagula
The Unwritten Code That Determines Behaviour:
Culture is unspoken, it is unwritten, there’s no book where people can look and see and say okay, that’s the culture of that family, that’s the culture of that organisation.
This is where we speak about it beyond something we teach but something that is caught.
This is where you walk into a place and you begin to catch the culture.
The thing about culture is that you can either have it by design or by default.
When it comes to culture, we’re all given the same device for example, but how are you designing your culture, how are you designing the culture in your family, how are you designing the culture in your business, in your organisation, in your relationships?
You need to design it, it can’t be by default, it can’t be by mistake, you can’t go with the flow.
“As a leader, you don’t go with the flow, you create the flow.”Mzwandile Magagula
Culture can be formal or informal, so the informal part is when its not formalised, before it translates to it being informal, it needs to be formal first, where you sit down and communicate your expectations in your relationships.
The difference between sickness and health is that health is not contagious.
When the culture is sick, that’s where it spreads, it begins to spread and people begin to catch it, and you find yourself having a malfunctioning, dysfunctional sick culture which people have caught and you said nothing about it, but when it was healthy, people were not catching it.
This is because culture is a combination of what you create and what you tolerate, so ask yourself, what is it that you are creating as a culture in your family in your relationships, in your spending and finances.
What is it that you’re creating in your business and your organisation, because if you’re not creating it, you’ll find yourself being on the other side having to tolerate something.
There’s certain behaviours that you need to nip in the bud when it comes because it’s not the culture that you want to see.
In relationships as well, when it comes to certain behaviours and certain patterns, you would find that they are transferred through relationships, lifestyle choices for example can be transferred through relationships.
This is a big one because there are certain lifestyle choices, healthy or unhealthy that can be transferred through the relationships that you have, certain eating behaviours can be transferred through the relationships that you have. You find yourself eating certain types of food which might not be healthy or might be healthy depending on the relationships that you have.
“The relationships that you have open up a door for you to get and receive and for certain lifestyle choices to be transferred to you.”Mzwandile Magagula
How Do You Create A Culture Of Growth?
Ensure there are people always around you who are ahead of you, people that you are learning from, people who are pulling you forward, people who are telling you there’s a world bigger than the world you are in, there’s better ahead of you.
Ensure that in that environment or culture, you are continually challenged.
Always ask yourself as a leader how can you be challenged, what is challenging you, what is challenging your thinking, your thoughts and always ask yourself what can you do because you’re always looking at becoming better.
The question you need to ask yourself as a leader is when was the last time you pushed yourself out of your comfort zone?
This will always keep you at the verge of being challenged. Ensure that your focus is always forward, ensure that the atmosphere around you is always affirming and this is your responsibility as a leader to ensure that you’e always creating that culture of affirmation.
Affirm people, part of the task from this podcast is to send to three people an encouragement text that affirms what they are doing.
Sow that seed of affirmation so that culture can be created around you.
Ensure that you’re always growing as a leader and you’re always outside of your comfort zone.
Ask yourself the question, what would it take to take you out of your comfort zone, ensure that you wake up excited.
Making your bed in the morning already sets you on the right path towards becoming more productive.
Create order because when you create order in the first few minutes of the morning, the rest of your day takes on a more orderly pattern.
Ensure that others around you are growing, when growth is collective, it’s something so beautiful, challenge them to grow, help them to grow, give them resources that can help them to grow.
Create growth environments, take them with you where you know they can grow.
The culture that you create will not only benefit you but will benefit those around you and everyone who comes into your world will be able to glean from your culture.