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We Put the “Cult” in Culture

We Put the “Cult” in Culture

by Frank Roche on May 15, 2007

in Culture, Management

I once worked at a firm where the internal slogan among employees was, “At X, we put the ‘cult’ in culture.” We dressed alike. We used the same templates. And we all had the same briefcase. Were we cynical? I suppose so — at least some of us were.

So, when Ubemensch from 48Facets sent me an article by NPR called Don’t Be Cynical, it caught my eye. Then I became cynical. But I read it anyway. And it was good. The essence is a variation on Forrest Gump’s mother’s admonition: Cynical is as cynical does.

“The first thing is to not be cynical yourself,” says [Ben] Dattner, an organizational psychologist. As a team leader, “if you demonstrate cynicism, you’re likely to feed into your team’s cynicism.”

The article offers several strategies to dampen the enthusiasm for cynicism. Here are three examples:

  • Encourage team members to speak up.
  • Discourage complaining and venting.
  • Communicate clearly.

The funny part about Ubermensch sending along this article about suppressing cynicism is that he recently wrote an article called I Was Living a Dilbert Cartoon. He starts:

[I was living a Dilbert Cartoon] [t]wice this week. First, I was told I had to write a proposal for a piece of work we could not win. This has been a 4 man day effort so far and will eat up more time next week. The sales guy agrees with my logic that we cannot win since in this one niche area we are far less qualified than other companies.

The story goes on from there and it’s worth reading the entire piece. Want employee engagement? Don’t make situations where your valued employees write closing lines in posts that say, “Does Scott Adams take ideas for the strip?”

Yes, Ubermensch, Scott Adams does take ideas for the strip. Or is that too cynical?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }


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