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It’s not too late to create an uncompromising work culture

Leaders set the tone, and they are responsible for creating an uncompromising work culture of respect and validation. Learn more.

3 min read


Co-workers in a photo illustrating uncompromising work culture


Employees are still quitting jobs at a record rate — and they’re not taking the first job they find. They’re being selective.

These employees — of every generation — desire and deserve a workplace where they are respected and validated for their ideas, efforts and contributions every day.

So those players are not taking jobs with organizations that operate by old-school autocratic, my-way-or-the-highway leadership beliefs and behaviors.

Employees seek out organizations where every team member experiences inclusion, involvement and influence over their work and their workplace. When they find roles in those companies, those employees bring their best, proactively solve problems, and they stay with those companies.

Leaders are taking notice, but too few leaders know how to create a respectful and validating work culture.

Start by defining your ideal work culture. Formalize your organization’s servant purpose, a present-day “reason for being” that describes how your organization — and your team — improves the quality of life of customers and communities.

Next, formalize your organization’s core values. Most importantly, for each value, specify two or three measurable behaviors that align with your core values.

For example, if “respect” is one of your company’s desired values, what does respect look like in your workplace when it’s done perfectly?

Defining your uncompromising work culture doesn’t mean your work is done. In fact, that’s when the hard part begins: alignment.

Senior leaders must be “chief role models” of your desired culture. They must model, coach, measure, celebrate and mentor your valued behaviors every day.

They hold all leaders accountable for doing the same. In an uncompromising work culture, senior leaders do not tolerate leaders at any level who dismiss, demean or discount employees’ ideas, efforts or contributions.

Making your ideal work culture a reality takes time — six months or more of steady modeling, coaching, measuring and more. Only when all leaders consistently model your valued behaviors will employees embrace them, too.

What’s in it for you? When leaders create organizations where respect is as important as results, three things happen: engagement goes up, service goes up, and results go up, by 35% and more over 18 months. We can prove it!

S. Chris Edmonds is a speaker, author and executive consultant with The Purposeful Culture Group, where he is founder and CEO. He has authored or co-authored seven books, including “The Culture Engine.” His latest book, “Good Comes First,” recently published and was co-authored with Mark Babbitt. Edmonds’ videos, posts and podcasts are available at Follow Edmonds on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Apple Podcasts.

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