How To Build A Workplace Culture You Want To Work In

by Karl Rohde — Get free updates of new posts here. Photo Credit: Karl Rohde.


Culture is the thing you experience every day you go to work. It’s how it feels to work where you work. Do you like yours?

Culture is the product of human actions and it exists wherever a group of people gather or group together. People make it happen.

Culture matters because it creates a climate, an atmosphere, that strongly influences our behaviours and beliefs about what is possible for us as individuals. It affects our experience at work and determines whether we enjoy our work or not. It influences how hard we strive, influence, sell, push, hustle and do.

A culture is extremely important if you're planning on doing your best work. Indeed culture has the power to make us thrive or stifle our potential. So what can you do about it?

Whose responsibility is culture?

It may seem convenient to say your boss and his bosses. Yes, they are responsible. However consider influence. Influence is something everyone can do. The people you spend most of your time with will influence you the most. It stands to reason if association influences then you are an influencer by virtue of your association with others.

If you can influence, you can impact workplace culture. By your words and actions culture is in your hands, to some extent. With a little forethought culture can be shaped by your actions. Culture is a choice and you can choose to contribute or detract.

I’d rather fire someone for not contributing to an innovative work culture than for poor work performance. - Tony Hsieh, CEO

At its most basic we can all talk about what’s wrong in a given job. So too can we talk about what’s right and the possibility to make things better. James Altucher has a crazy story of pushing the limits of culture. He was an IT Analyst Programmer and ended up having his own TV show with HBO. His example shows the power of not waiting for permission to do something remarkable. Stop waiting for others. Many leaders, not all, sold out for the trappings of status – it’s highly likely they won’t make culture rock for you. So go make it happen yourself. Start acting how you would like your leaders to act. We need leaders at every level. Will it be you? (click to tweet)

8 ways you can make your workplace culture rock. Let’s go.

1. Engage. Get involved. Speak up. Be part of the place. Stop sitting on the fence. Challenge! Ask questions, rattle a few cages. Give an opinion. The 80's is over – you can give ideas without getting sacked. Be nice, smile and be constructive.

2. Help. Be a mentor to someone. Nominate yourself to be a guide in something you love. If you love presentations be the dude everyone goes to get help on creating slides that rock. If you’re a management artist – offer your talents to help other managers.

3. Initiate. Propose to change something that does not work. A new idea. Rearrange, sort, clean up, suggest, nominate.

4. Lead something. Pick a project or a thing that you value and find meaningful and nominate yourself to drive the outcome in your unique way. Perhaps your organisation is struggling to adapt to the business of social media – maybe you could drive awareness and sense here.

5. Specialise. Be the best at something and be the recognised go to person. This one guy I know rocks at Excel. Whenever people want to know advanced Excel they know who to go to.

6. Produce something. A killer presentation. Start a business blog. Develop a solution to a problem. Add functionality to a system. Write a process. Adopt a best practice and embed it.

7. Make a connection. Create an alliance around a common goal. Contributors unite. Three of you like project management, or strategy or creative innovation – get together and create and push each other. Perhaps 4 of you like productivity – meet Thursdays for productivity mastermind coffee catch-up and rock it.

8. Change the conversation. Limit time with people who rant without cause and intent to make things better. Start a better conversation. 

To cover it all stop waiting for permission to do cool stuff. Think like an entrepreneur. They don't have time for a negative culture. They make it happen.

Thanks for reading another blog post. Are you subscribed? If not, you're welcome to subscribe here. What are your thoughts or experience on making workplace culture rock? Pop a comment in the box and if you care to please share this post via your preferred social networks or forward it to a few friends.

Photo Credit: Karl Rohde

I'm a big fan of connecting. Join me on Google+ , Twitter (@krohde) and LinkedIn. If you have any questions on hacking work, comments, or just want to chat - feel free to drop me an email at karl [at]