You Stand For What You Tolerate!

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I was working with a client experiencing low engagement and high turnover. Because of this we decided to complete a culture assessment where we looked at their different business units and the length of time people have been working within their organization.

Not surprisingly, the results showed that people in the organization were experiencing lots of blame, confusion, bureaucracy, information hoarding and micro managing. As we started diving into the results the reality was sinking in with the leadership team that the organization’s culture was at an all-time low and their employees were not very happy.

On the flip side though, we also learned that as new hires, employees initially come to work motivated, inspired and positive. It turns out that over time the new people become influenced and then entrenched into existing culture and lost who they were.

I once heard a brilliant CEO named Irv Robinson from Robbie Flexibles say, “You stand for what you tolerate.” Some big insights were gleaned in an early results discussion after I mentioned that quote and asked the executive team what they are tolerating. Initially they looked around like deer in the headlights and then stepped up as leaders asked themselves what they are tolerating among the executive team. Through the course of discussion they admitted they had low trust between them and determined that increasing trust among the leaders was the first place to start.

In addition, they also concluded that the organization is tolerating a lack of clarity regarding people’s roles and expectations causing confusion, finger pointing and blame. Bureaucracy and the length of time and red tape required to get anything approved were other culture aspects that fell into the “tolerating” bucket that they were no longer willing to stand for. They immediately began looking at ways to address these gaps in their culture so that they could maintain the motivation and drive of new hires and reignite the zest and engagement of their longer term employees.

I would love to hear your thoughts. What are you tolerating, and by default, standing for?

  • Are you tolerating bad behavior in your organization?
  • Are you tolerating the wrong people on the bus?
  • Are you tolerating working 60-80 a week?

What would you like to do differently to create more fulfillment in your life? What can you do differently as a leader to create a better place to work?

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