Create Positive Workplace Culture

Culture is Co-Created!

What is a Positive Workplace Culture? How is it created? What are the key elements?

Organizational Culture…is an expression of the values, beliefs and assumptions of its members, and is manifested in behavior.

You know that you can ‘see’ and ‘feel’ an organization’s culture as soon as you enter the doorway. It is, literally, written all over the faces of the people who are a part of that organization.

Culture does not ‘just happen’…it is not dictated by leadership. Organizational Culture is always co-created. When you review the list that follows, ask yourself; ‘How many of these positive elements am I contributing?

We’ll use the word POSITIVE as an acronym to recall the key elements, and explore a few ideas about what you can do to contribute to that element:

P – Present

Do you fly into work, head filled with to-do lists and with frustration at the traffic you just left behind?

Take one minute, at the beginning of your day, to ‘arrive’. Close your eyes, focus on your breath, and remind yourself why you are there.

O – Optimistic

What do you say to yourself when adversity strikes? Do you look at obstacles as temporary glitches that you can work to overcome (Optimists)? Or, do you view challenges as permanent and pervasive – as just the way it goes in your life (Pessimists)?

Practice changing the dialogue you allow to take up space in your mind. Choose to look at adversity as an isolated incident that you can overcome. You’ll immediately be in a better space to work your way through it.

S – Shared

As we stated above, Culture is co-created. You are part of an ecosystem – at work, at home, in your community. So ask yourself; ‘What am I contributing?‘. Is my contribution helping or hurting this Culture? Sometimes the answers to those questions come from other people. Be open to hearing how others view you – you’ll learn a lot, about yourself and about your colleagues.

I – Intentional

Think about, and then answer these questions for yourself … ‘Who Are You and What Do You Want?

Then, share those answers with important people around you.

T – Thank-full

Of all of the research on happiness and positivity, the #1 strategy is gratitude. Practice gratitude each day, letting other people know what you appreciate about them.

I – Inspired

In addition to answering the two questions above – Who Are You and What Do You Want…also answer this question ‘Why Are You Here?‘ Why are you in this organization, why are you in this profession, why are you on this earth? If you want to know where your inspiration is, answering that question will bring you much closer to it!

V- Vulnerable

When you mess up, own it, learn from it, and share the story. In order for your Culture to be optimally positive and healthy, mistakes must be transparent and viewed as a learning opportunity. Additionally, all members must feel comfortable sharing personal struggles, such as a mental health challenge. Not so that we can all become mired in the sadness; but so that we can help each other move through and past the challenge.

E – Energized

Eat well. Exercise. Sleep. These are staples to an energized human. Beyond those basics and everything listed above, an energized human is one who has well-developed social relationships at work. Come together and remind yourself that you are, indeed, all in this together!

So, here is another question for you; ‘What Will You Do?‘. What actions will you take to positively impact yourself and your Organizational Culture?

Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! A TEDx Speaker, Author, and Organizational consultant, Deri works with organizations who want to create happy and healthy workplaces for increased positivity, productivity and prosperity!


Happy Fall! Here’s how Mindfulness can Help

It’s that time of year. The lazy, hazy days of summer are over, and you are now becoming fully engaged in work or school.

Busy-ness can be productive; and it can also be exhausting and stifling. A lot of the difference lies in what’s happening between your ears.

Busy-ness is unproductive when repetitive thoughts take over, when you become hijacked by your emotions, and when you find yourself looking for ways to self-medicate your way through the stress in your life.

Contrary to what you might think, ‘doing’ more is not the answer; ‘being’ more is. And ‘being’ is exactly as it sounds…it’s about pausing, stopping, and just noticing where you are.

You’ve likely heard about mindfulness – if you’ve done any reading on well-being, stress management, or resilience in the past few years.

Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention in a particular way, in the present moment, on purpose, and without judgment. It is often credited with developing increased self-awareness, resilience and emotional intelligence. I am sure you can agree that all of these capabilities are important in your every day life at work and at home.

If you are skeptical about what mindfulness can do for you, that is a pretty common reaction to the invitation to give it a try. You might be thinking:

  • ‘I am not one of those people who can just sit still’, or
  • ‘Being quiet sounds really boring’, or
  • ‘I don’t have the time, patience or energy to meditate’.

Here are a few things to consider:

Mindfulness is not about sitting for hour upon hour, in full lotus, without shoes. Even just one minute attending to the present moment is mindfulness. Over time, you can learn to notice incoming thoughts, and gently bring yourself back to your breath, in the present moment.

Being quiet is definitely not boring! You will soon realize that there is a lot of noise (and some of it very interesting!!) occurring in your mind. As stated above, once you begin your practice, you will become very aware of the amount of traffic ‘up there’. I once read that if we could project our thoughts onto a billboard, we would be horrified…most of them are negative…and repetitive!

Finally, rather than taking (consuming) your time, patience and energy…mindfulness ADDS to your time, patience and energy! Your ruminating thoughts are exhausting! Practicing presence, even just a minute at a time, will help you be able to focus on what’s before you and to and feel more calm overall.

In addition to pausing, and focusing on your breath regularly, here are a few other mindfulness strategies you can start using today:

1) Before you enter a room for a one on one meeting, or enter a large staff event, or enter your home at the end of the day, pause and reflect on what you want to bring into the experience. Do you want to bring: Positivity? Vulnerability? Energy? Optimism? What is your outcome? How do you want to impact the people who will be there?

2) When unpleasant emotions arise, pause and  acknowledge them rather than ignoring them. Rather than allowing them to pull you down, choose self-compassion, and move toward what you want to achieve in that moment.

3) Notice your repetitive thoughts. Reflect on the thought, and then and reframe it (choose a more positive story), and choose your actions according to the reframed story. Remember, thoughts are not facts; they are just thoughts; so choose the thoughts that work FOR you rather than against you.

4) Be curious and ask questions. Even, of yourself! The more you learn about yourself, the better you’ll be able to assume control over your thoughts (and your experience of life in general). The more you learn about others, the better you are able to build the constructive connections you need to achieve your outcomes.

Check out these resources for more information on the benefits of a mindfulness practice:

Happy Fall! Happy Mindfulness! Happy Life!

Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! A TEDx Speaker, Author, and Organizational consultant, Deri works with organizations who want to create happy and healthy workplaces for increased positivity, productivity and prosperity! 


Get Creative To Protect Your Organizational ‘Assets’

Awe-inspiring beauty in New Zealand!

Having just returned from a trip to New Zealand, I was impressed with this incredibly beautiful country! Beyond it’s natural physical beauty, New Zealand is a country that seems to model it’s values at every turn. It is indeed one of the cleanest, friendliest and most environmentally responsible countries on the globe. It also seems to have a pretty thriving economy. I think there is a connection between the two!

It got me thinking about how organizations can follow the lead from New Zealand. Are you protecting your assets? Do you – by the way you behave (what you say and do) – tell people what you value … and do your protect what you value? Continue reading “Get Creative To Protect Your Organizational ‘Assets’”