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Culture Creating Secrets

August 24, 2021

Last week I shared about our recent company retreat in Chicago.

We took the entire team to celebrate 10 years in business, complete with a boat ride on the Chicago River, a Cubs game at Wrigley Field, and of course some famous Chicago deep dish pizza.

After something as remarkable as this trip, I was asked by some fellow founders and business leaders why we spend so much energy (and money) focused on our culture at ADDO. It’s usually followed by a statement that goes something like this, “When you take your whole team to Chicago, it’s no wonder ADDO keeps landing on the ‘Best Places to Work List.’” However, it would be a mistake to believe it’s the extravagant elements that lead to high engagement.

Here’s an important piece of advice: Culture is created in the small moments and memorialized in the big ones.

What do I mean by that?

First, every leader should know that you can’t compensate for a crappy culture with grand gestures and big events. If day in and day out our people aren’t truly appreciated, challenged, and cared for, then we might as well save our time, effort, and resources.

Knowing that the small, consistent moments matter, it’s a leader’s job to create an atmosphere where people can be their best. It’s important to note: A leader can’t build a healthy workplace on their own, it must be supported and sustained by a collective group of committed individuals on the team.

The environment for a great culture is created by leaders, but it’s cultivated by the team.

With all the above being said, it’s helpful to achieve milestones and celebrate seasons in a way that commemorate what you’ve accomplished.

It’s kind of like being a great parent or spouse; what matters most to your husband, wife, or children aren’t the big things, it’s consistently loving and being there for them. They need to you show up, to care, to tell them you love them. Those small acts matter most. However, when they look back and are asked to remember what stands out, they’ll probably recall key moments you experienced together. It doesn’t have to be grandiose; it could be as simple as going to get ice cream or going down slides together at the park.

You show care consistently in small ways and you help create etched memories in the moments.

This message matters for each of us that are responsible for a group of people, whether  a family, a small group or Sunday school class, a classroom, a sports team, or a business. A positive culture happens when you work daily to create an environment of consistent care and when you don’t miss making the memories that leave a lasting impression.


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