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Building Office Culture: 5 Principles

small company internship
Sammantha Johnson
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Published on June 11, 2014

Bring on the first week’s handshakes, smiles, coffee tips and office secrets.  It’s like Dodge ball…you don’t want to be the last one chosen. However, once you’re on the team you feel like a winner. Building company culture fosters relationships and determines  personality matches. Here are five key principles to keep in mind when building office culture.

TIME

Friendships aren’t made overnight, so I had to understand learning my co-workers habits wouldn’t be an instant download. The time spent recognizing your fit into the existing coterie is vital. Think of it as observing each individual’s habits, mannerisms, and attitudes. This sounds very sociological, but assessment, during this timeframe can lead to the likelihood of personality match. Yes, that’s our goal.

DEVELOP INTERESTS

It’s easy to gravitate to those of similar interests. If you’re a gamer who’s absolutely thrilled over Xbox One – Titanfall or a fashionista who’s crazy over Kate Moss – TopShop collection then finding these similar interests in co-workers will help strengthen a potential bond. But who wants a perfect friendship?…boring. Yes, that’s right, I enjoy a healthy argument. Frankly, I learn much more from disagreeing counterparts. Former CEO and Management Thinker Margaret Heffernan advises the TED Talk audience to dare to disagree. “You must be prepared to change your mind … you think and think again,” said Heffernan. Constant agreement spawns nothing, but conflict is thinking.


AGREE TO DISAGREE

Let’s lay it out – when we disagree, we begin to collaborate and solve problems. It ignites change and mostly creates an alliance. Once silence is broken, people will gain respect for you and see you as a leader. When I’m vocal, smirks are like a gust of wind on the Santa Monica Pier – rapid and intense. Ha, I take pleasure in my antics, but I’m also very manner-able. My co-workers value this characteristic.

BE OPEN

Openness marks new beginnings. Now, you translucently view your cohorts and their working habits. One question I recently had floating around was how can I become open at work without losing my sense of authority. Even within my entry-level position, I desire to assert myself with power. I’m learning not to skew openness as a weakness. Openness means the ability to accept new and pivotal ideas and incorporate them into your own. Heffernan urges people not to label others as whistleblowers, but as individuals who evoke groundbreaking change. We can be the groundbreaking change who creates a movement. It doesn’t have to end world hunger, but maybe there’s a sleeker strategy for a current team project.

BE YOURSELF

Never hinder yourself from being yourself. Culture within the office is the foundation of success, and it begins with you.

Stay Intrigued and Keep Believing

Sammantha Johnson

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