You’ve probably heard the old (slightly morbid) fable of how to cook a frog. If you throw it in a pot of boiling water, the frog will immediately jump out of the pot to save its life. But, place the frog in a pot of cool water, put the heat on low, and slowly increase the temperature, and the frog will continue to adjust over time, getting used to the hotter water until it finally begins to boil. Before he can jump out, he’s cooked!
Are you and your team on a slow boil? Do you have a culture of slowly tolerating negative, immature, disrespectful, or simply uninspired action over time? It’s easy to let things go little by little and then suddenly realize you’re boiling, and your work environment has become toxic.
According to the MIT Sloan Management Review, between April 2021 and September 2021, 24 million Americans left their jobs due to a “toxic office culture”—a record-setting number! My coaching colleague, Dino Watt, recently wrote, “A toxic business culture is by far the strongest predictor of industry-adjusted attrition and is 10 times more important than compensation in predicting turnover.”
What is the alternative to a toxic environment? One that thrives—on every level. The alternative is an environment where people are clear about expectations, feel they have a voice, make a positive impact, and control their destiny. It’s an environment where people are growing, recognized, supported, and aligned. And all of this comes from solid leadership and a structured approach to creating a great team and positive work culture.
Just like every family, association, church, or group, your business has a culture. It has either happened accidentally over time or been created on purpose, and no one creates a bad culture intentionally. However, it can often just evolve because there wasn’t an intentional structure or skills in place to support the necessary course corrections and to allow for quick, clear, supportive responses to anyone whose behaviors are out of alignment with the established standards.
Having a thriving, positive, mature, and aligned culture doesn’t mean you don’t have challenges and roadblocks. It means that you have clear standards, a shared vision, and a structured approach to the hard conversations that keep everyone aligned and working well together. You and your team should feel excited about coming to work every day and secure in the support and quality of your team. And you can. But, you must insist on it and intentionally create it. The good news is that it’s never too late—never. And it’s often easier than you think. But you must start to be great; you don’t have to be great to start.
If you need to jump out of the pot before you boil, reach out for coaching. Almost all great teams who produce great results and enjoy the ride together have invested in a great coach. Get the support, ideas, and systems you need to get out of the pot, off the slow boil, and into a thriving environment!
“Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.”
~ Simon Sinek