Good question posed at a seminar that I was giving recently on organizational change.
I think the parenthetical modifier at the end of that question, however, was the unstated “…for the positive?” If the question had “…for the negative?” at the end, the question would probably feel pointless and the answer obvious to most people.
Do you agree?
I suppose my assumption about the question’s implied direction of change is fairly cynical. Perhaps we’ve seen it happen once too often: one toxic person enters an otherwise healthy dynamic, and people are moving on to greener pastures in short order.
Yes, work culture can go downhill in a hurry. But can it go up in a hurry too?
If you believe that culture can go downhill, can’t you also believe that it should also be able to go up too? If one person can create toxicity, why can’t one person create positivity? If one person can cause others to disengage, one person can also inspire others to engage.
Even if you don’t believe that an organization can change, the world changes all the time. Therefore, it seems unlikely that an organization can be indefinitely immune to the changes around it.
Society changes. Organizations change. People change. It’s just a question of how we change. Do we adapt? Do we grow? Or do we entrench and deteriorate?
The choice is yours.
Yes it is. You’re more powerful than you believe. Though it may only require one person’s vision to initiate change, that change also requires buy-in from others. Courage is required of those who choose to support that vision, especially from the first follower who commits to that change.
That vision and commitment may not even be explicit. Just as one person’s negative attitude can change the tone of a conversation, it can also change the tone of an organization’s culture. Therefore, one person’s message of optimism, hope, gratitude, compassion and empathy can also infuse and transform the culture of an organization. All it takes is buy-in from other people.
That can be you.
Now we have a movement.