How could I develop a positive culture?

In this blog, I’ve been reviewing many small, personal ways to contribute to a more positive culture at work. But what if you want to engage your whole organization? In that case, a culture survey might be a good starting point. It helps to map where you are now and where you would like to go and start the conversation.

The Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI) in particular can help to develop a more positive culture. The OCAI, developed and validated by Cameron and Quinn at the University of Michigan, is based on the Competing Values Framework, one of the top 50 models used in business.
It’s a quick tool to ask people to rate both their current and their desired future culture. What do you think? What would people’s ideal organizational culture look like?

What do we wish for at work?

Well… our ideal culture has many similarities with the characteristics of a positive culture! The database of OCAI Online contains the answer to “what people want at work”. When you look at the scores of hundreds of thousands of respondents from all industry groups, ages, and nationalities people share one desired culture at work:

Leaders and employees all over the globe desire more flexibility, autonomy, purpose, learning, and collaboration in the workplace. The preferred culture types from the OCAI and Competing Values Framework turn out to be the Collaborate and Create Culture types.
More details in my book: Developing a Positive Culture. Read more about these four archetypes of culture in this blog post.

The OCAI research aligns with Daniel Pink’s research (published in his book Drive!) that shows that people want mastery (developing your professional skills), autonomy, and purpose at work.
Other research confirms that the Collaborate and Create cultures are not just “what people wish for if they had a magic wand” but organizational performance is often enhanced by these culture types. See more research sources in this blog post.

Positive cultures cherish good relationships based on trust, participation and collaboration, and an eye for positive potential. They stimulate learning and development, a meaningful shared purpose, and professional autonomy.

It might be wise to look at how to emphasize the Collaborate and Create Culture elements in your organization…. If you want to know how I invite you to attend the Culture Change Leadership workshop on 24-26 September! We’ll work on how to use the OCAI, how to facilitate culture change while engaging the whole organization in Change Circles, and how to develop a more positive culture.

Nice, but not with my co-workers!

Nice, but what if you don’t see how this could work in your organization? The good news is that all people respond to positivity, even if they seem a bit suspicious at first because it’s not common in the culture! Focusing on what is working well adds to a more positive culture.

Our wishes align with research: positive = high-performance Share on X

Positive makes people and performance thrive. Professor Kim Cameron at the University of Michigan has been researching positive organizations for years. He found that a positive climate, positive relationships, communication, and positive meaning lead to “positive deviance” or high performance.
Other research shows that working in the vicinity of a positive leader, makes you positive (Goleman, Biyatzis, McKee, 2004).
Some theorists even say that we affect people at least three levels out beyond ourselves. Imagine a “contagion” of positivity spreading because you decided to develop a positive culture!

I think it’s high time that we transform our workplaces into positive spaces where we can learn and develop our potential, connect with others, collaborate on a positive purpose and serve our clients, community, and the world.

Check out the Culture Change Leadership workshop and join me on 24-26 September! The super saver is valid until April 28 so do not wait too long if you want to join. We have limited seats to ensure time and attention for all participants to work on their cases and questions. Let’s create more positive organizations!

© Marcella Bremer, 2018. All rights reserved.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Dr Johan Schoeman

    Dear Marcella,
    Thank you for making the time to maintain your blog.
    As you know, I focus on positive organisational cultures in Africa.
    Having completed the Executive POS Programme with Kim Cameron, Bob Quinn and Jane Dutton, I am concentrating on changing African Leaders to be more positive, which will make them more productive, leading to higher profitability.
    Friendly POS regards. Dr Johan Schoeman. Expert POS Consultant in Africa.

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