I’m Invisible (Culture)



February 15, 2017

I’m Invisible (Culture)

I recently met with a friend, we’ll call him John, who is very skilled, passionate about his work, a self-starter, a real producer in his organization…and he’s dusting off his resume. He described how, in spite of being a high producer, he feels “invisible”. His supervisor has her nose buried in numbers and reports with no recognition of productivity or affirmation for creative, extra effort that’s paying off for them.

John described the culture of his workplace as one “with no pulse”. In my opinion, culture is one of the most important elements the top leadership needs to tend to. Culture “seeps down” to the workplace, whether the leadership knows it or not. Culture affects morale, trust, productivity, transparency, reputation, the ability to attract and keep employees, and the list goes on.

If you’re reading this, you’re either leading in your workplace or aspire to. So to what lengths are you willing to go to improve the culture? Here’s a couple of things to consider:

  1. Listen – Ask people what’s going right and what needs to improve. If you’ve never done this before, you can expect to be met with blank stares of disbelief. They will be skeptical for good reason. Are you willing to listen without judgement and without any threat of reprisal? Without this, you’ll never hear the whole truth. And if you think everyone is telling you the truth – you’ve got paradigm blindness and probably need some coaching. Or it may take an outside consultant to design a smart 360 feedback process to really get to the issues.
  2. Growth – What are you doing to help you and your executive team learn and grow? Dinosaurs become extinct when they can’t outpace, outlearn, outthink the changes going on around them. What leadership training opportunities are you providing for your team?
  3. Purpose – How clear is your team about your “hedgehog concept”? How clear are you about it? If this is a new concept, just do a quick search for this. It’s simple and powerful. Most of the best ideas are.
  4. Trust – Without this core ingredient in your workplace, literally everything else will be compromised. If you’re struggling with this one, please check out Patrick Lencioni’s, “Five Dysfunctions of a Team”. This takes much more space than we can cover here.
  5. Love – Yes, love! Do you love the people you work with, the mission of the organization, the activity of getting to know what really makes your team tick? You don’t have to actually love them, but do you care deeply about what takes place in the organization, and do you want the best for your team? If you’re the CEO, they already know and talk about this when you’re not around. It’s part of the culture.

 The research from Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Gallup all verify that people “don’t leave companies, they leave bosses”. Relationships matter! My experience as a “boss” for over 20 years tells me that it’s not hard to be a good boss, but it does take an investment of time and energy, and it will pay off in wonderful ways. What are you doing to help your team be visible?


My intent for this blog is to share my perspective on how we all have the ability to create new endings to our stories that are meaningful, powerful and filled with hope. I facilitate transformational change processes helping organizations achieve maximum mission impact. And I provide leadership coaching to help executives and aspiring leaders become the fullest expression of who they’re intended to be.