“Our culture?” Miguel stopped. “Well, there is the official story, and then there is the truth.”
I smiled. “Well, we all know the story is better than the truth.”
“Yeah, I know,” Miguel continued. “I mean, we try hard. We got the company mission statement posted by the front door. We got the teamwork posters on the wall. We have an employee newsletter, but you know, morale is still in the dumpster.”
“What do you think is the problem?”
“Don’t know. We try to get everybody on board, but the enthusiasm just isn’t there. It’s like they just don’t believe what a great place this is.”
“Who decided it was such a great place?” I asked.
Miguel was puzzled. “What do you mean, nobody really decided.”
“That’s the point. We, as managers, have manufactured the things you describe as culture. The mission statement looks like it came from some Mission Statement book. The teamwork posters were bought out of a catalogue. I have read your employee newsletter and all it talks about is how to make changes in your 401(k) plan and make a claim in the health insurance program. You have the tools to create and communicate your culture, but you are not using them.
“The biggest tool you have is participation. People will support a workplace they help to make.”