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Positive Culture

Why did I write the Positive Culture Book?

  • 08 February 2018
  • Posted by Marcella Bremer

Organizational culture is one of my favorite topics. That's why I work with and write about it. At the occasion of my new book "Developing a Positive Culture where People and Performance Thrive", one of our OCAI partners, consultant Andrea Simon, interviewed me for her blog. Let me share some parts of that interview. Could the Positive Culture book be helpful for your team or organization as well?

Andrea: Who are you, and why are you so involved in helping organizations get their "Culture" right?

Marcella: I'm working as a culture change consultant, and author to help people develop positive leadership and a positive culture. That's because I see too many people, regardless of their position, suffer or merely survive at work. But why does earning morning need to be so depleting? Why do people wither away 40 hours a week?

I know how that feels. At the start of my work life, I was "doing time" between 8 AM and 6 PM in an office building to pay my bills. I didn't feel appreciated and, worse, it felt like a prison. What a contrast with this other position where I brimmed with energy because my work mattered, my colleagues were supportive, and I was challenged to give it my all.

I started my own company and started using Cameron & Quinn's validated Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI) and then co-founded OCAI online. My next endeavor was the positive Leadership & Change Magazine blog and I wrote my first book about organizational culture change. As I love learning, I explored Positive Organizational Scholarship and started to experiment. That's the basis of my second book: Developing a Positive Culture where People and Performance Thrive. The online Positive Culture Academy helps people learn to apply the book's tools to their situation.

Andrea: Why did you want to write about Positive Cultures?

Marcella: Working with clients, I discovered it's not just employees: Managers might also not know how to combine pleasure and performance at work. As a consultant, I once worked with some bright middle managers that kept repeating that higher management would torpedo their ideas, so their hands were tied. They told me that working with them was a waste of time and they wanted me to either change their bosses or let their employees work harder. But they, as middle managers, couldn't change anything about their teams, let alone the whole organization.

I then worked with their top executives who were worn out because their organization wouldn't move. They couldn't change anything and made the best of their long days. They were holding each other hostage; just going through the daily grind and blaming the others.

This case was the tipping point for me. I developed Interaction Interventions: easy to apply even when you are too busy to start a whole-organization culture project, regardless of your position as a middle manager in a large corporation, or supervisor, or co-worker.

By the way, it's not just about happy workers. Positive organizations are proven to be more engaged, innovative, competitive, agile, collaborative and productive. So, it's a win-win for all.

Andrea: Can you share some of the highlights of the Positive Culture book?

Marcella: The book shares many tools to diagnose and change a culture. You can develop a positive culture with Interaction Interventions and/or Change Circles. 

Interaction Interventions are small actions and interactions that people can do on a daily basis to start influencing their meetings, co-workers, and eventually the organizational network. They are small but not insignificant. Culture happens when people get together because they copy, coach and correct each other automatically. Culture is sustained in every interaction and action so if you start changing that, and you work together with like-minded positive peers, you start to influence the system. Especially interactions in meetings matter to the culture, so I share many ways to make meetings more interactive and positive, and how to focus on what is working well, and so on. Then there's a toolbox for leaders to work with their teams on values, purpose, positive challenges and trust.

Second, there are Change Circles if you want to enroll the whole organization in meaningful culture change. This is a larger-scale approach that works because there's attention for personal interactions in small groups that influence the culture.

Remember: If you influence one person, one interaction at a time, you contribute to a more positive culture. Just like one candle can light a room!

Buy the book "Developing a Positive Culture where People and Performance Thrive" on Amazon. 

Check out the book page!  

The Positive Culture Academy focuses on how you can be the change you wish to see on your team. The Academy is your how-to-do-it for your situation: for all leaders, middle managers or other professionals. Check it out.

You can read the full interview here. Thank you, Andrea Simon, for organizing this interview!

© Marcella Bremer, 2018. All rights reserved.

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