The Top 5 Counter-Intuitive Ways To Rock Your Corporate Culture

By Guest Post

“We want to create a culture shift.”
“What are the qualities of a culture that put it on a ‘best places to work’ list?”
“What IS our culture?”

I can’t decide if the word culture is becoming a buzzword, is on its way out, or if it’s exactly where it should be with the right amount of attention on it. What I do find, over and over again, is that culture done well isn’t something that gets specifically designed or mandated – by the leadership team or by others. In my experience it is something that simply becomes.

It ‘becomes’ by the nature of the people in it, and what they emanate. It becomes by the values and the mission of the organization. It becomes by the behaviors that are supported, nurtured, and celebrated. It becomes by who shows up. Not just showing up for work, I mean how they show up as a leader. Being present and aware, in the energy of curiosity, contribution, and intention. 

Whether you are intentionally creating a culture or not, here are 5 counter-intuitive ways to rock your corporate culture even more:

 1.      Allow for and evoke the intuitive in everyone on your team.

I believe that we all have amazing intuitive powers. The more we allow our intuition to speak, and trust it, the stronger it becomes. The analytical mind is important in business, but the intuitive mind has a power all its own. Many times critical decisions are answered best by our intuition, by silencing our buzzing minds and just trusting. Encourage your teams to surrender to intuition to solve problems that the “mind” cannot.

2.      Ditch work-life balance.

I’m a big non-believer in work-life balance. I’ve found that those who need it the most often aren’t loving their work or their life or their relationships, and therefore need to build in structures to support and protect both. If you work 80 hours a week and are in flow, and you’re happy with your life, relationships and impact, then personally, I’m leaving you alone.

If you aren’t happy, let’s take a closer look. I’ve found that the quest for work-life balance actually puts more pressure on people than just holding life as one lovely continuum. Do work you love and engage in relationships that are life-giving, and the issue of work-life balance becomes less about boundaries and more about the continuum. Try it on.

3.      Build self-care into the equation. Mandate it.

Okay, okay… technically you can’t “mandate” self care, but you certainly can support and cultivate it in every way possible:

– Serve healthy food and snacks on-site

– Support gym memberships

– Build tea/coffee/water breaks into the day. Some companies now stop every hour on the hour for a moment of presence.

– Take naps during the day. More and more research is being done on the beautiful benefits and impact of sleep and even staring out the window for 10-minute stints every hour. Don’t work so hard. Your brain, body, creativity, and business will thank you for it.

One of the greatest ways to encourage self-care is to build your and your organization’s own IEP (intentional energetic presence). Consider the way you feel and align your state so that you care about yourself and those around you. The more you model and encourage self-care, in a non-self righteous, preachy or demanding way, the more your employees and team members will be inclined to do the same.

4.      Don’t go into meetings unarmed! Have clear intentions and an agenda.

It’s a bit frightening the amount of time we spend in meetings.They can be a great way to align the team, but they can also be an inefficient and expensive waste of time. I’m finding over and over again that this time can be cut at least in half by adding an extra level of intention and presence to them.

I recommend spending 2 minutes at the beginning of every meeting or conversation getting present. More and more of my clients are using the IEP Method Quickstart Module, and beginning their meetings with energy check-ins. Some of our clients now have energy and presence boards (I’m at a “7” today, I’m at a “4”, I’m at a “9”…) It’s a way to bring everyone’s full presence into the room. From here you get their highest levels of mental and physical energy, and focused attention.

5.      Don’t give too much autonomy.

Autonomy rocks, except when it doesn’t. I’ve learned this one myself, many times painfully. We give someone too much autonomy too soon, partly because we believe in people and want to grant trust, and partly because we’re so doggone busy we need them to run with it. But give too much autonomy without enough guidance and direction, and before you know it, they’re off the reservation and a mess is made. They feel unsupported and miserable, you’re pissed, they’re insecure… no one wins here. So give autonomy AND ask them for the support they need. Check-in, ask questions, and meet regularly from a space of contribution and service.

With intention, the people who SHOW UP create the culture. Without intention, the people who don’t show up, often create the culture by default. If we release any “shoulds” or “recipes” or “formulas” for creating culture and simply apply curiosity for what (and who) is actually showing up, we have a different viewpoint to look from. If we consider our criteria for what an amazing culture actually consists of, and then reflect on if we are actually showing up that way, we’re tapping into some gold.

When we apply the energy of wonder and even magic to the culture that’s unfolding, and add a bit of intentionality into it, we have a new starting line. And if we simply consider that culture is about serving people on our teams even better, holding the biggest and most contributory container to step into, and bringing out the absolute best in our already phenomenal peers, and ourselves, we’re 80% there.

We create what we emanate. Our intention and presence creates the culture. Go create…

Headshot Anese Cavanaugh sittingAnese Cavanaugh is the creator of the IEP Method as well as a leadership & collaboration advisor, strategist, and thinking partner for business leaders in the design, service and innovation spaces. Through her speaking, writing and creative leadership coaching & training programs, teams rediscover and build cultures of collaboration, authenticity and healthy leadership. The result? Energized collaboration, engaged workplaces and positive impact. Follow her @anesecavanaugh.com

How do you rock your corporate culture? Is your officee one of the “top places to work”? Leave a comment below!

Photo Credit: DanielIBL



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  • Meera

    way to go Anese! These are great suggestions. I look forward to hearing your interview with Radio Red!–Meera from Big Yoga

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