Change the culture

Last week I suggested that the answer to some of this sexual misconduct is to have at least 30% women on your leadership team. I did not mean to be glib. However, that would change the culture pretty quickly.

This week, I suggest that the Leadership team get out in front of this issue, not by toeing the legal line, but by jumping into an uncomfortable discussion about “how things are around here.”

Best practice would be something like this:

CEO to state something that you believe. It could be “we want a culture where people feel safe to do their best. We do not tolerate bullying, disrespect or harassment.”

Members of the leadership team, (yes, it could just be HR) would lead discussions in small groups.

  • Ask if there are certain situations or behaviors they have experienced at work that make them uncomfortable.
  • Listen.
  • Agree to develop a plan for change.
  • Get team members to be part of creating the change.
  • Support people when they bring issues.
  • Take action. Do not tolerate bad behavior or you just blew up your credibility.
  • Set a new standard for how we are going to be together.
  • Repeat the small group discussions in six months to assess the culture.

Remember, if you want to change the culture, change the culture.

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