Here’s How Your Culture Has Been Slipping Over The Last 2 Years

January 27, 2022
January 27, 2022 Jamie Notter

In a couple of months, we will begin year number 3 of the disruption caused by the pandemic, and over the last two years, many organizations were forced into reactive mode, adjusting to ever-changing government mandates and figuring out how to do just about everything virtually. During that time, a lot of organizations put culture on the back burner (or off the stove entirely)—there were simply too many other, more pressing things that needed attention.

I get that, but folks—it’s been 2 years.

I’m not saying this coming year everything will be back to “normal,” but I am saying that over the last two years your culture evolved in ways that you were NOT managing, and it’s going to continue to evolve on its own unless you become intentional about it.

That’s how cultures work. They change whether you’re paying attention to them or not, and 99% of the time when you’re NOT paying attention, the results are not good. Your culture slips. Here is what I see happening inside of cultures based on the last two years of inattention:

  • Collaboration is less effective. A lot of people blame this on being remote, and I know that is a factor, but it’s also one that can be overcome, so this is bigger than that. When your culture becomes reactive, you focus on what’s in front of you, and you don’t include others as much, and we’re paying the price.
  • Opportunities for innovation are being missed. That sounds sort of odd at a time when we’re all inventing new virtual or hybrid versions of what we used to do in person, but changing the format of how you deliver value is not the same as unlocking value you couldn’t reach before. In the midst of all this change, there are opportunities to unlock new value, and we’re missing them.
  • People feel less included. Diversity, equity, and inclusion have received a lot of attention, but not enough behavior has changed. I think this is one of the drivers of the great resignation. Don’t point out to your people that things aren’t fair and that you’re not as inclusive as you should be—and then avoid fixing it. Your people will start looking elsewhere.
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Every minute that you avoid fixing these broken parts of your culture, they will get worse. Plus, new problems will emerge. To do culture right, you need to have an eye on it all the time. It’s not like when the pandemic hit you put finance on the back burner for two years and sort of hoped that you had some money in your bank account at the end of every month. Culture is equally important.

Invest in a more successful future by getting your culture back into alignment with what drives your success. Now is the time.

Jamie Notter

Jamie is an author and growth strategist at PROPEL, where he helps leaders integrate culture, strategy, and execution to achieve breakthrough performance and impact. He brings twenty-five years of experience to his work designing culture-driven businesses, and has specialized along the way in areas like conflict resolution and generations. Jamie is also the co-author of three books—Humanize, When Millennials Take Over, and The Non-Obvious Guide to Employee Engagement—and holds a Master’s in conflict resolution from George Mason and a certificate in Organization Development from Georgetown, where he serves as adjunct faculty.
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