I was one of the facilitators at a Student Leadership Forum in Canberra. There were more than 250 high-potential students across Australasia that we challenged to become the best version of themselves they can be. Jock Cameron, the founder of the forum, closed the four days with a speech that was truly inspiring. Jock spoke about intent. Intent without action is just an empty promise.
You can’t will yourself to win a running race. You are unlikely to have a healthy relationship without deciding to make it work. If you want change, you need to combine intent with action. It is in this crossover that the magic happens. Your intent influences your actions, and your actions influence your results.
Are you someone that observes then silently, or overtly, judges your workplace? Do you think of all the things your organisation could do to be better but not action them? Do you get frustrated at the leadership and not give them the feedback? Are you the culture that you want to work in? Or do you sit back and take what is given to you?
If you sit back and watch negative things happen around you do you then become an enabler? That is, then a bystander. I don’t think there is anything such as an ‘innocent bystander’. Not if there is some action to take and you don’t take it — whether it is calling someone out on their behaviour, or trying to fix a wrong, or putting something in place to stop the issue. There is only an ‘inactive bystander’.
Jock called inaction being a ‘culture taker’ not a ‘culture maker’. A culture taker prefers to stay lazy and indifferent, to gossip and complain, to get frustrated and annoyed. Being a culture maker requires effort, courage, determination, sacrifice and resilience.
We need to understand that we have the power to create the very space that we are looking for. It’s the spirit of entitlement that is killing people’s willingness to get up, get on with it and do the work! Entitlement also encourages the ‘us-versus-them’ mentality. If you want a different culture, a different strategy, a different relationship, then be a culture maker … not a taker. Have the conversation with the person you need to have it with, action that task, do that thing you have been complaining about.
We need to do the work!
If you want to learn how to create remarkable cultures then get yourself a copy of Fixing Feedback , do the work and watch the workplace become a better version of itself.