Let’s Get It Started!

© Gino Santa Maria | Dreamstime.com

There’s a song I love to play over the loudspeakers at my public events. The song is “Let’s Get it Started” by the Black-Eyed Peas, and we use it to call everybody back from break, to pump them up and get them ready to GET IT STARTED again!

We could use just about any high-energy song to get people’s attention, but this one has something special, and its right there in the title––Let’s get it started. It doesn’t say, “Let’s hope somebody else gets it started.” It’s about US, you and me, getting started and making things happen.

Maybe you’re playing a waiting game in your company, waiting for management to get the memo and start making a positive culture change happen. You’ve filled out enough suggestion cards to fill the old card catalog at the New York Public Library. Maybe you’ve even dropped a few heavy hints in person. Nothing. Ever. Happens.

Time to stop waiting. It’s time to get it started.

Culture change is first and foremost about a change in attitudes. It’s about making people feel appreciated, giving them a common goal, and helping them to have fun in the process. NONE of these requires a lot of money or time, and best of all, NONE requires the involvement of the head honchos.

Still, you don’t have to do this all alone. Certainly there are two or three other people who would like to see your workplace transformed. Put together an informal group––a “coalition of the willing”––and brainstorm ways to turn the place around. There is nothing more fun than taking the bull by the horns and watching as you turn around not just a workplace, but the lives of the people who spend half of their waking hours IN that workplace.

Here are three ways to get it started:

1. Create your own contest. If you know your company has an objective to sell 750 widgets a month, create a contest. Split your staff into teams. Have them report daily and put points for sales up on a white board. Hoot and holler, give out prizes for individuals and teams. Prizes don’t have to be expensive—people will knock themselves out for a chocolate kiss.

2. Start a low-key campaign against dysfunctional behaviors. Quietly enlist as many co-workers as possible in a pact to not engage in gossip, backstabbing, whining, or nay-saying, and to gently call others on it when they hear it in action.

3. Connect. It’s easy to crawl into our shells, keep our eyes on the floor, and forget that we’re surrounded by actual no-kidding people all day. Make an effort to meet the eyes of your co-workers. Smile and say hello. Ask about the family. This isn’t rocket science––but these simple connections can do more for transforming a workplace culture than the most elaborate system of incentives.

At the end of the first month, pull the team together to take a reading. Odds are very good that you’ll see evidence everywhere that things will never be the same.

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