How to Change Company Culture (or Get Fired) in 4 Easy Steps

You’re a well-intentioned New Hire, maybe you’re under the age of 33. Within a few weeks you start to notice the company’s culture: how meetings are run, how people greet each other in the hallway, the office doors are closed or open.

The first couple of months you’re there, some of the cultural wrinkles start to show. The Honeymoon phase is over and now you’re face-to-face with glaring company problems- and I mean glaring.

You start to think you’re crazy and the self-dialogue begins:

“Why hasn’t any one ever said anything about this?”

“Wait, we do WHAT around here?! Why?”

“Am I the only one who notices this?”

“Is this a cult?”

“Am I going crazy?”

Here are some quick and easy steps to flipping a company culture for the better - or the best advice on how to get fired:

Step One: Document Before You Vent

It can be easy to blab out every time you see an issue occur- Run to your coworker, run to your boss and call out this injustice. Whoa. Whoa Whoa.

As a new hire, you should be that of an anthropologist - carefully observe the tribe interact, take note of the power-players, write down the potential problems you see.

Compile this list of problems. If the problems occur over and over then you know it’s a deep-down cultural problem.

Step Two: Talk it Through with Your Coworkers

Depending on the power dynamics and level of fear your boss instills, you might not want to go to the Boss the moment you see a problem. A coworker on the other hand, offers an equal plane to talk out problems without the direct risk of “Well if you don’t like it, you can leave” sentiment a boss might offer.

MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN VENTING TO A COWORKER (I’ve done these, so you don’t have to)

  • Whining

  • “Woe-is-me” Conversations

  • Bitching

  • Complaining

  • Debbie-downer

  • “The End is Nigh” Mentality

  • Talking in Circles

  • Trapping a coworker in conversation

  • Talking in Circles

  • Acting like you can “See through the Matrix”

  • Acting “Too good” for corporate politics

  • Not making a game plan

  • Empty threats to quit

  • Daydreaming of “Getting Out”

  • Never making a game plan

Step Three: Create 1-3 Possible Solutions

These solutions won’t be turn-key nor should they be. With you and a couple of coworkers, flesh out a perfect solution: one that solves 90% of the problems. This is your beacon of hope. Following that, create a “great” then “good” solution. - something your boss might actually go for.

Step Four: Approach Your Boss - or don’t!

You feel like you’ve gotten things off your chest, the Powerpoint slidedeck is ready for your boss, you’ve crafted a well-balanced, convincing email.

Do you hit Send?

In some cases, you realize there’s nothing that will fundamentally change because the culture is deeply embedded and decades old.

What you do next - is up to you.


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