Brandon Towle

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Toxic Culture: The Need for Healthy Work Environments

If you were suddenly dropped onto a different planet – say Venus or Mars – how long would you live without a spacesuit? Maybe 4-5 minutes? Less if you can’t hold your breath very long or the atmosphere was too toxic?

Let’s try another one – how long would you be able to live in Dzerzinsk, Russia – known as one of the most polluted cities in the world? The average life span is 45 years! It sounds obvious, but…

Atmosphere affects our breathing, which affects our living.

The same is true for organizational cultures – they are an atmosphere. Some cultures (aka atmospheres) can choke people in a matter of minutes. Other cultures tend to degrade and “kill” people over months or years. Pretty much all negative cultures come with a “hazardous materials”  risk for employee well-being. Others, however, remain free and clear and produce effective, long-term health and prosperity.

We have have seen organizations exemplifying all three scenarios. As a company devoted to helping plant, water, and cultivate healthy organizational culture, our team is always working hard to create its own atmosphere of positive growth, fruitfulness, and productivity.

“The culture is the atmosphere.”

Culture = Atmosphere

So, which atmosphere are you living in? What kind of atmosphere do you cultivate at work?

Are you currently in the Venus atmosphere where you can’t breathe for even a minute? That environment is suffocating and impossible to live in.

Or are you in a smoggy atmosphere, where you know your health is declining over time? Life could be better if you can eliminate a few corrosive ingredients.

Or maybe you are thriving in your environment with clean air and plenty of sunshine in your culture.

Thinking of culture as atmosphere is interesting. In a city full of smog you can usually trace the smog back to certain political and business decisions that enable such issues, or it may otherwise result from specific geographic realities within certain areas.

The same is true within organizations. Certain leaders and leadership decisions can lead to a divisive culture built on short-term fear to produce results. If you are an employee then you can only rely on your influence to clean up areas of leadership pollution. However, if you are a leader in some capacity, you have the opportunity (formal or informal) to clean up or establish the right atmosphere in which your people can live and thrive.

Removing the Toxins

Think about the economic and social implications for cities with horrible pollution and the astronomical costs it incurs to care for its ailing citizens. Now imagine the same implications for companies with bad atmospheres – lack of productivity, divisive drama, high turnover, and demoralized employees.

The best thing you can do as a leader is commit to a clean up. 

Dedicate yourself to liberation, health, and a vibrant atmosphere at work. Let’s work today to change atmospheres for everyone’s benefit. 

Your culture is an atmosphere, how well are you breathing?

This was originally posted by GiANT Worldwide and I wanted to share it here as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how your company atmosphere (culture) affects your organizational health, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!

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