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  • Think of organizational culture as the set of values and norms of behavior that shape how people work together.
  • A positive organizational culture is a key driver of organizational performance.
  • Research shows that organizations with a positive culture are more likely to outperform their peers and competitors on a variety of measures.
  • When values and norms of behavior are perceived as positive, people feel supported, motivated, and engaged to do their best.
  • When values or norms of behavior are perceived as negative, people are more likely to hold back or check out.
  • A positive culture does mean shying away from naming and addressing problems and challenges.  A positive culture actually enables and accelerates innovation and problem solving.
  • Positive culture is everyone’s job, with leadership defining the vision and modeling the way, and everyone doing their part to sustain a positive culture.

Research shows that positive culture does matter for high performance.  Traits of positive cultures include perceptions of high character, caring and support, inspiration, meaning, and encouragement of learning and growth.  Try these promising practices to support positive culture in your organization.

  • 1. Model Character.  Model the virtues of respect, gratitude, trust, and integrity.
  • 2. Model Caring and Support.  Model caring for, being interested in, and maintaining responsibility for colleagues as friends.  Provide support for colleagues, including offering kindness and compassion when others are struggling.
  • 3. Offer Inspiration.  Inspire others by providing encouragement and creating a shared vision of success.
  • 4. Emphasize Meaning.  Help others understand that value of their work for the mission of the organization.
  • 5. Encourage Learning and Growth.  View setbacks as opportunities for learning and growth. Avoid blame and forgive mistakes. Encourage people to be the best at getting better.