Hear how you can be the change your organization needs
Can you build better businesses by creating positive cultures in which people can work with joy instead of dread? Yes! That’s the premise of Marcella Bremer’s book, Developing a Positive Culture where People and Performance Thrive, which focuses on helping organizations achieve more effective, productive cultures. I interviewed Marcella for this podcast back in 2018 and what she said about how you can be a force for change in your organization even if you’re not a CEO or boss or manager was so groundbreaking that I want to share our conversation with you again, in my salute to amazing women throughout the fall. Marcella also leads a Positive Culture Academy where you learn how to apply her principles. Every working person needs to hear this!
To change your culture, you first need to know what your culture is
I have had the pleasure of working with Marcella Bremer and her organization, the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (www.ocai-online.com), originally developed by Drs. Kim Cameron and Robert Quinn at the University of Michigan. Marcella has the license for the OCAI and has made it available across the globe for companies to diagnose and change their cultures. As culture change experts, the OCAI is something we at SAMC use quite frequently with our clients.
An author, consultant, trainer and great thinker, Marcella helps companies build more positive, powerful cultures in which people can work. Positive organizations are better at change, more innovative, more competitive, more profitable, and contribute more to the world. In a positive organizational environment, people can thrive at work.
Marcella understood this when she formed her company, OCAI Online. Then
she co-founded the Positive Leadership & Change Magazine blog to help people make a difference at work, followed by her first book about organizational culture work. She then explored Positive Organizational Scholarship, wrote her second book, and now helps others create workplace cultures that make a powerful impact on people and profits.
Six important takeaways:
- You, yes you, can make a difference in the organizational system where you work.
- If you influence one person, one interaction at a time, you contribute to a more positive culture.
- There is no need to choose between suffer and succeed.
- When you thrive, you deliver the best you have to offer. This is positive for yourself and for the organization.
- You cannot change your bosses but you can change the way bosses and their teams work together.
- How positive organizations are more engaged organizations, more innovative and more productive.
For a deeper dive into culture change, we recommend these as a start
- Blog: Entrepreneurs: Think “Business Culture” First, Not Last!
- Blog: 3 Tips for HR Directors to Lead Successful Culture Change
- Podcast: Ask Andi—How Do You Change Your Culture?
Additional resources for you
- My two award-winning books: Rethink: Smashing The Myths of Women in Business
and On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights
- Our website: Simon Associates Management Consultants
Read the transcript of our podcast here
Andi Simon: Welcome to On the Brink With Andi Simon. Hi, I’m Andi Simon. I’m your host and your guide, and my job is to get you off the brink. Thanks for joining us today. As you know, On the Brink, the podcast, came out of the book On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights. And in our talks, we try to bring you thought leaders and CEOs and authors and people who are really trying to help others see, feel and think in new ways.
So I’m absolutely thrilled today to have Marcella Bremer with us. Marcella is from the Netherlands and she comes to us thanks to GoToMeeting and Skype. We talk all the time about common issues that we find in helping companies change, particularly their culture. So let me tell you a little bit about Marcella and then I’ll ask her to tell us about her personal journey, and why her new book is so timely and important. The new book is Developing a Positive Culture where People and Performance Thrive, and it’s coming out shortly.
So Marcella, I have really had the pleasure of working with her around the organizational culture assessment instrument, or OCAI. If you haven’t tried it, it is well worth doing. You can try it at OCAI-online.com. And you’ll begin to see why it’s such a great way to assess your culture today and what you would like it to be. But she’s an author, a consultant, a trainer. And Marcella is just a great thinker and she’s thinking about how to build better businesses, like we are, by helping companies build more positive, powerful cultures, in which people, we call them employees, but they are great people who can work. And it’s really important.
And as I do executive coaching with my clients, they all are trying to create an environment where their employees rise to the occasion, high performing teams. Well, what does that really mean? And how does their personal home life and work life create an environment in which sometimes they’re not stars, but you want them to be? So first, welcome, Marcella. Thank you for joining me today.
Marcella Bremer: Thank you, Andrea. Thank you for such kind words and praise for my work. And I enjoy working with you as well, of course.
Andi Simon: Tell our audience, our listeners, about yourself, because it’s a great story. And I often look at women leaders as they’re emerging, and their stories are wonderful to share. Help our listeners understand, who’s Marcella Bremer and how did you get to where you are now?
Marcella Bremer: Yeah, okay. Well, you know, it started when I finished Rotterdam School of Management. One of my first assignments, I was working with a company, and I gave them advice. So I presented this great report. And I said, “Well, you could do this and that,” and they all went, “Yeah, that’s great. That’s great. We’ll do that, we’ll implement this for sure. Thanks so much.” And then, of course, this report ended up in a drawer, and I was incredibly frustrated. And that was really my first head-on encounter with culture, if you will. Because, you know, my advice, apart from being expert advice, that I could have engaged them more with or about. Apart from that, it also didn’t fit their culture really well.
So, I started out on this journey. I think it was fueled by my frustration for starters, like, why do people say yes, and then do no? And why is organizational change such a tedious task? Why is it so dreadful, and I found out that it’s so much more effective if you start working with culture because the reason why organizational change often fails or disappoints is because it doesn’t align with the culture.
So I was looking for a way to help people see the culture because once you’re working in a company, you become blind to the culture and it’s as if you are a fish in a fishbowl and you’re not aware of the water temperature. You’re just swimming around, and it’s just the way we do things around here. And then when you are new to an organization, you’re so aware of the water temperature, so you know what you feel and what the culture is like immediately. But then, when you fit in, you lose that.
So after three months, if they haven’t fired you and you didn’t quit yet, it means that you fit in and you’ve become unaware and oblivious to the current culture. And that’s okay, of course. If it’s a very effective culture and it’s a positive culture, it’s all fine. But if you need change, or if you think that you’re not engaged, 32% of the United States employees are not engaged at work. So if you feel that you’re simply going through the motions, then, you know, is that what you want to do with your life, or if you are a leader, and you wonder why your team is not performing the way you would want them to perform, it’s worthwhile to take a look at the culture.
So that’s when I started looking for an easy tool that was easy to work with. And I found the OCAI, and I started working with it. And it’s fun to do the OCAI culture surveys. It goes really quickly. And it boils down to four archetypes of culture, and people will recognize them instantly. They’re easy to work with.
So, I started using this OCAI in my client work in consulting, to see what their current culture was like, and what the others were experiencing. If people wanted to have a different desired culture, or to see whether change would be necessary to execute the strategy and achieve their goals. So, it all started because we made a phone call to the University of Michigan. We had a really nice conversation with Ken Cameron. He’s one of the OCAI developers, together with Robert Quinn. And then we got this license to provide the OCAI online. And then I started using this cultural survey even more often in my client work and consulting with other fellow consultants, how they could use this culture tool.
So I became sort of an OCAI expert: training, doing training to trainers for other consultants and working with my own clients. I developed a more down to earth, pragmatic way to use this survey in organizational consulting work. So that was my first book. And then I started to see more often and often, and that’s why I wrote the second book, is that when I was working with clients, there were so many people who would say to me, “This is really nice that you’re working with us.” By this time, my consulting work was not confined to the Netherlands anymore, as you can imagine. So I was working anywhere around the globe, in different industry sectors and so on. And it happened, well, too often to my liking, that people would say to me, “It’s nice that you’re working with us, but we cannot change the culture, this is a large corporation, and I don’t really matter. And even though I am a manager, or team leader or middle manager, you should be working with my boss and the executive team or with the board because I cannot do anything about it. So we’re having a great conversation, this is really insightful for me but I cannot make a dent in this corporation.”
And I was thinking, wow, wow, this is interesting. So we have employees, and only 32% are engaged and think, you know, that it really matters, what they’re doing, loving their work, et cetera. And then the other 68% are not engaged. And that includes people in leading positions, can you believe that? So even managers say, “I cannot make a difference to the corporation, not even to my team, because I have this colleague and that direct-report and you all don’t want to know that people aren’t working with ourselves, we cannot make a change here.”
So if even they think this way, and really feel this way, what does this mean for our organizations, how we treat our customers and the contributions we make to the world at large. I’m a real optimist and I really think that organizations know to do something for the larger good of society. So that’s when I started to think, there must be an easier way to empower managers and everyone at work. So that’s been my journey.
Andi Simon: Well, I want to continue because I also think I wanted to just talk a little bit about those four archetypes so the listener understands how the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI) works, which is simple to take online, and what does it actually show us, because “We don’t do that here” is what I also find when I go into a new organization: “No, that’s not the way we do it.” And it’s so easy to hide behind the culture that is today. The four archetypes that Dr. Cameron and Robert Quinn developed came out of the competing values framework. And they did a tremendous amount of research. Over 10,000 companies have used it. It’s really a fascinating methodology, highly validated.
But the four types are things that your listeners should think about. Do you have a very controlling organization you’ve worked with? We have. One was a healthcare organization and the CEO signed every check. You can just imagine how controlling it was. No decisions were made at the bedside, or in the IDI. And I said to them, “How do we implement that?” “We gotta go ask the CEO.” I said, “Ah, interesting.”
Then I worked with another company. The second two archetypes. That CEO had two different offices, one was highly competitive. So you know, we had the controlling one, this is a competitive one, they were extraordinarily competitive. They were in the transportation engineering world. And they really got things done but couldn’t stand each other. And their opposite was collaborative and human resource oriented. The team was so powerful, but they got nothing done. And if you looked at their graphs, and you’re smiling at me, they weren’t totally extreme. And this was a guy who was trying to organize a whole lot of different offices and figure out why some did lots, but couldn’t stand each other, and others loved each other, but got nothing done.
And then there are my entrepreneurs, which is the fourth archetype, the other one are creators, and they are so into being visionary, empowering and creative. I taught entrepreneurship at Washington University, and every one of the entrepreneurs talked about how they had had an idea a minute. But if they didn’t have anyone to control them, they never got anything done, and couldn’t create processes that people could work with.
So out of the four, I liked the C’s, but there are different ways of talking about them, or the collaborative one and the competitive one, and the creative one and the controlling one. And you can feel the push and the pull on each. But if you’re in any of them, and Marcella has been asked to come in, like myself, to help change the organization, and very often, HR calls us and says, “We have a new CEO, can you come and help us make changes to our culture?” And I say, “What is it now?” And they’ll say, “I’m not sure. We would like it to be more innovative.” I say, “Okay, what does that mean?” “Well, I’m not sure if that’s what the CEO wants.”
And so, the OCAI tool is a very wonderful pictorial way to begin the process. Now, I’m going to turn it back to Marcella because it’s important for you to understand that this is not casual. It’s not Andi Simon with my 10 checkoff things. It’s so well documented, validated and used that you begin to believe. I’m an anthropologist, and anthropologists would not believe there are four archetypes, but it works really well for corporations and organizations globally, to begin to see themselves. So Marcella, where did this take you? And how did you turn this wonderful company you emerged with into the next phase of helping companies who change?
Marcella Bremer: So you mean, when using the OCAI and the aura archetypes?
Andi Simon: Well, no, as you began to evolve, and began to try and help them change, you were on your way to a positive organization model? And give us some sense of how one leads to the next.
Marcella Bremer: Okay. I was thinking about how I could help people retrieve their personal positive power. So you know, first starting with the sense that you can make a difference to your organization, no matter what your formal position is. And you can also make a difference to the culture. So you can help organizations and people change when you use the OCAI on your current culture, of course, and then you plot your desired culture. So where would you like to be? And what does that really look like?
But what I really like about the OCAI is that it’s validated, and then you have these values, etc. But the way I work with my clients is to translate that into daily behaviors and interactions, because that is where the culture is represented. And it’s also sustained. So it’s what happens on a regular basis. So I was talking about that fish bowl, and the water temperature. So “the way we do things around here”…what is normal? What is the temperature of the water and how fast or slow? Do we swim together? That is what the culture is, and that is what happens on a daily basis, and that is with actions and interactions.
So I use the OCAI to see the most important values of those four archetypes and you know, that could be collaboration. So that’s people orientation or to create culture that loves to learn and experiment and do new things, those are great values. But what happens on a daily basis? So what you work out with clients is to say, “Okay, will we innovate like Mad Men? Try out different things? Well, no, because then you’ll have chaos. So that’s probably not what you want. And I wouldn’t call that a positive culture: chaos.”
So you look at daily behaviors and interactions that have the right mix of the creative culture. So it means that we are open to learning. And we love to exchange new ideas. And you know, so you might support me with that. And I can ask a question without looking stupid because that’s what could happen in a healthy creative culture. So that’s an example of translating it. And you know, boiling it down to luck would work with your team and your organization. And the same goes for the club culture tied to collaboration that is focused on people. So you want to have connection and collaboration, but you do not want a continuous happy hour where you get no work done.
And so, it’s about the right mix of things. And it will eventually, at the end of the day, you need all four archetypes. And that’s just the same as situational leadership, of course. So you need a bit of everything. But you need to have a focus when you’re doing things. And you need to have the healthy expressions of those culture types and not go too far, so not to create a culture that could be driving off into chaos because everybody’s doing as they please. And it doesn’t mean having a continuous happy hour with all of your colleagues who are also your best friends. But you know, you do need some elements of that.
And in general, that’s what I found. It’s also in my new book, the upper two culture types that we’re talking about now. So that’s the flexible culture: archetypes of collaboration and creating culture are the most appreciated culture types, if you want to develop a more positive culture. So yes, you also need the control part because you don’t want to have chaos. So you want to have your finances and everything and your processes smooth and running so they support you. And yes, you also need the results orientation of the compete culture, but not too much because people might get exhausted and depleted.
But in general, aiming towards collaboration and creating culture types, that’s absolutely a big part of a positive culture. And that’s sustained by a ton of other research as well. So it’s not just research around the OCAI or competing values framework, those four archetypes, it’s also other research that suggests that people really want this connection, and they want learning and autonomy that go with creating culture. So that’s what I’m working toward. So the model helps you see what you are traveling toward.
And then the interactionS, interventions that I developed for those managers who felt powerless with their teams, you can use on a daily basis. So we can go off with these great values of culture. But you know, what does it boil down to on a daily basis? So if I change my interaction and culture is sustained in the daily interactions, and who gets away with what and what is normal, and whether it’s normal to ask questions and to show vulnerability, or you know, whether it’s normal to don’t say a word, hoard information, wait for the CEO signature, that all depends on the culture. But if I change my interactions, then I start slowly but surely, changing the culture as well.
So sometimes people feel overwhelmed as well. Culture is so complex. Yes, it’s very complex. And it’s very deep, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. So you could work on it on a daily basis by simply changing some of the interactions that are normal. And if you keep doing that, your colleagues will take a look at you and say, “Oh, what is she doing?” And after some time, they get used to it and it becomes normal. And then you get the shaft and slowly things are changing.
Andi Simon: So let’s help our audience understand how you have migrated now to this positive organization model and as well, to the academy to help train it. But I really want you to dig into what is a positive organization where people are not only engaged, but really understand what’s expected and thrive on it. And it may not matter which type of the archetype they have for a culture. But there’s something going on here beyond simply, “This is the way we do it. I really feel good about the way we do it.” Talk to us about what is a positive organization.
Marcella Bremer: I’ve been doing lots of research before I wrote this book, and out of all the research, I distilled really four ingredients that you need for a positive culture. So those ingredients involve more details, of course, but for sure you need connection and collaboration. So you need to know your colleagues, you need to have a basic level of trust and respect, then you need positive awareness. And positive awareness is really interesting because that is what positive organizational scholarship is about, that Cameron and Quinn are studying currently at the Ross School of Business. Positive awareness, the simple definition is looking at the glass half full. So you’re trying to see the positive potential in a situation.
So instead of focusing on the problem, this is not working, and this colleague is not okay, you’re going to look just like an appreciative inquiry. “All right, so what is good about this situation? So what could be an opportunity? Or what can we learn from it? Or if we solve this, could we even move beyond going back to normal to extraordinary? So let’s flip this problem around, this is really bad. But if we were at our best, what would happen?”
So this positive awareness really is also based on positive psychology. It’s focusing on how you could be your best self, the best team. And how could you make the best of maybe a dreadful situation or a disengaged team? What would it look like if they were completely engaged? And how could you start your journey toward this engagement? So that’s the positive awareness. And there’s a lot to say about that. We don’t have time for that now. It’s not stupid optimism. It’s positive awareness that does not mean that you are too soft for people. You still have boundaries, and you’re still looking to achieve high performance. And that’s called positive deviance in this terminology.
So we need a positive awareness. We need the learning and autonomy that I mentioned before, and that aligns with and creates culture. So people really want to have choices. So they want to have a great goal that they can work toward, but they don’t want to have micromanagement, and too extensive how to get there. So they want to have some choices, autonomy, and they want to have learning. So they want to have some challenges, just like in Daniel Pink’s book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. They want Mastery, Autonomy and Purpose. So we want to be challenged, or most of us.
So in general, this is part of the positive culture as well learning and autonomy. And then the fourth ingredient is a shared meaningful purpose. So we really want to make a contribution to the greater good, to the world. We want to serve our customers really well, so that really makes people tick. And that’s part of applying positive leadership as well. So those are really the four ingredients of a positive culture. And, you know, as I said, they align more with the clan and create culture archetypes, but you also need some bottom line results, orientation and smooth processes that come with control and compete culture types.
Andi Simon: Do me a favor for the listener. Sometimes they’re in their car, so repeat those again, and then we’ll talk about how do you get there so that they can begin to understand. “I don’t want to just aspire to this, but I could actually do it.” But they were big ideas. And I’d like to just reiterate them, because it’s hard sometimes when you’re listening to a podcast to hear them again. So for the four important things, here they are.
Marcella Bremer: So the four ingredients are: connection and collaboration, positive awareness — and that’s got to do with your mindset — learning and autonomy. And the fourth is a shared meaningful purpose. So if you can work toward those four things with your team or your direct co-workers. If you’re not a team leader or a leader or a manager, then you can still be on your way to developing a more positive culture at work because it aligns with our deep human need to be connected, to be seen to be part of the team, and to be working toward something great that goes beyond our self-interest, and to be learning.
Andi Simon: Now, if a manager or a leader is listening, how do I actually do this?
Marcella Bremer: Yeah, that’s a good question. And for that, I invite them to read my book, of course, and to join the Academy. But, there are several things that you can do. And I mentioned interactions and interaction interventions that are rather easy to start with because they don’t depart from the lofty values. But, they’re really down to earth on a daily basis.
You get together with your team, you’re having a meeting. And you know, when you have a leading position, you might have a tendency to be talking and telling people what to do or the way you see it. And you know, to use a lot of statements. It’s just like, “Me, right now I’m talking.” So how could you change your interaction to engage others more? Well, a very simple thing to do differently next time is to ask more questions. And of course, if you start asking questions out of the blue, and your team is not used to it, it might be a bit scary for them, like, “Whoa, what is she up to? So why are you asking?”
So of course, there’s more to it than simply to start asking questions, because it might make people defensive if you don’t really do that with a nice tone of voice, and you’re not really interested in hearing the answer. But if you really mean it, and you ask genuine, open possibility-oriented questions, a question like, “What would happen if using this phrase allows the team to dream?” Or What would happen when will we be at our best? What could we do to overcome this problem? And even double the turnover?”
Or maybe you don’t want to start with those big goals just yet, so you start with a simple question. The next meeting you get together, “How is everyone today?” And then really not as a scripted phrase like “How are you?” “Fine.” Instead, something like, “Oh, what’s going on?” Or, “Let me share the most important thing that happened, or the best thing that happened to me last week, and then what I’d like to do is a small round, sharing your best thing that happened.” So ask people how they are, what they are up to? What would be important to them? But bottom line, it comes down to asking more questions.
Andi Simon: But my clients often say, “You keep asking me why.” And the whys as a consultant are part of helping you find the answer yourself. And I have a hunch, as you ask those questions, you’re looking for them to self-discover the answers, as opposed to waiting for you to direct them in some fashion. There’s an engagement methodology in that question, am I right?
Marcella Bremer: And it’s simple and yet so profound, and we tend to forget. So you start telling and then you forget to ask no, but the other part, that’s a simple thing, to engage people and to start developing that positive culture because asking more questions is part of that as well.
Andi Simon: Now, one of the things I use, and I love your perspective on it, is that I say, “Let’s make this less scary. Let’s assume that you’re on a stage. It’s called a business. But let’s pretend you really know Macbeth really well. You’ve got that script down, you know where to stand on the stage. You come to work and the habits take over. And you are really great at playing the role, but nobody’s coming anymore. Now you have to play Hamlet. You don’t have a script. You don’t know where to stand on the stage. There’s no stage decor. We haven’t really changed anything. We’re back in the midset for Macbeth, but we’re playing a new role. And it’s on the one hand, scary but if Robert Redford can play different roles, and Katharine Hepburn can play different roles, couldn’t you as well? What would you need? I need for you to pause for a moment, not be a new person, but begin to write a script about and rehearse and begin to have some training time about making something undesirable desirable, something you’ve never done into something new.”
When I worked with the hospital, and they wanted to be more innovative and collaborative, just as you’re saying, everyone did, I said, “Okay, does that mean we’re going to empower the nurse at the bedside? To make decisions that might counter what the doctor said?” “No, we can’t do that.” “Well, does collaboration mean that the nurses and housekeeping staff are going to collaborate to speed up how often and how fast the beds are changed so you can move people out of the emergency room?” “Oh, we don’t do it that way.” I said, “Now, you want to be more collaborative, but you don’t want to collaborate, and you want to be more empowering, and kind of creative. But you really don’t want to do that. What would a more collaborative, innovative culture be?”
And there was silence. I said, “So let’s play Hamlet. You know, let’s pretend that you’re just changing the role. And where you have adversity between nurses and doctors, you are going to have collaboration and trust. Now, how would that sound?”
But I’ll tell you, until they started to perform as if they were onstage, call it role playing, if you will, they really were scared of the words because they didn’t know how to say them. And they didn’t know what the response would be. And I find that that is often the hardest part of an organization: trying to do something in new ways. To your point, we have to be positive about it. You’re not bad or broken. Changing a bed until you know how to do it, you don’t know what it means. And so I don’t know. Does that metaphor make sense to you?
Marcella Bremer: Yes, I love that example that you just shared, and so that’s beautiful. And that’s what happens a lot. Exactly. “We are willing to do this. Yes, we want this, but we don’t know how.” So you know, it’s awkward and the habits. So we do it and we go back to normal.
Andi Simon: Now, what kind of program is the Academy bringing tomorrow? Because when I heard about the Academy, I said, I could send some clients there. How will you be training them? I’m anxious to hear experientially, what methodology?
Marcella Bremer: It’s based on a positive culture. So we’re going to spend 14 weeks together. So it will take two hours a week, is my estimate. And people will see we’re going to focus on the interaction intervention. So those are the things that you can do on a daily basis as an individual, whether you have a leading position or not. So of course, the book describes a lot of culture models, and the book goes further and deeper. But this is very down to earth, focusing on the interaction interventions.
You’ll get video lectures, you’ll get individual questions, reflection questions and assignments. We’re also going to choose a partner so you can exchange with a partner. You’re going to do the things that are suggested in the assignments and then we have a closed dialogue group where we can exchange and there will also be conference calls, so class calls where we get together on Zoom, and start to exchange what we have learned so far.
So it’s a wide range of lecturing, doing questions, doing assignments, and applying what you’ve read in the book, at work in your actual team, or organization, or with your clients. And the book will show you what to do and how to do it. But the Academy, the dialogue group, and the conference calls can really help you customize this further so that it fits your team and your boss, or your colleagues.
Andi Simon: Let me raise a couple of situations that our listeners may be in. In one case, I have a young manager who has been put in to run a department and she’s now managing someone who was her supervisor before. And she’s managing people who were her friends before. And now from being colleagues, they’re now subordinate. And the question from her is, “I don’t know how to do this.” Would that be the kind of intervention that could be helpful if she has spent the time with you in the Academy?
Marcella Bremer: Well, the interaction interventions are based for a broad number of situations of course, but this is one as well because part of the A curriculum is also a bit of personal development. So how could I strengthen my own authenticity at work? and that could be difficult when you’re supervising your friends and your former boss. It might be tempting to play a role. So how could I still be me and be authentic and genuine and trustworthy, and then use the positive interaction interventions? We will work on positive coaching, as well as positive questions, to engage them and to address what they are feeling. So to get this sense of awkwardness out of the air out of the room.
Andi Simon: Another client situation: this manager is very upset about the fact that the people he has to supervise don’t seem to have an urgent sense of getting the job done on time. And I have five executives that I’m working with, and they have acquired companies, and they’re very different cultures and interactions where they’re trying to get people to realize they have to speed up the work, get it done on time, and have a new, more normal life.
And all of those are sub-categories around organizations that are meaningful and have purpose and thrive. What’s going through my head is, I had a coaching session this morning, and he could have used some of the insights because he’s trying to move an organization. And sometimes I don’t think they appreciate the words he says, and what that means from daily interaction. Those are the kinds of things that people might look to the Academy to help themselves.
Marcella Bremer: Exactly. So we have the tools and the theory and the framework. But it will also be very interactive, like, how would I go about changing this? Or how can I do this differently? Or how could I achieve my goals and the team’s goals? So we’re going to take a look at that.
Andi Simon: That is pretty cool. So we’re about ready to wrap up, although you and I could keep talking. This has been such fun.
Marcella Bremer: Well, we always do!
Andi Simon: You know, people hate me and love me. They hire me to help them change and then immediately lock me in the closet and say, “Please don’t come out. I know I have to change, but do I really have to change?”
Change is more than just changing your clothes and cutting your hair differently. It’s those, and I love the daily interactions because it makes culture more personal and real. It isn’t just a big picture, it’s how I actually talk to people about what I do, and you can simply hire new people, but they’ll get absorbed by the existing culture, as opposed to being the agents of change for it. It’s a deadly thing.
I worked for a bank as an executive and my boss hired new people to change the culture. And all they did was become more like the old culture, they didn’t want to be outliers. They said, “Even if it’s broken, I belong and, and I know it’s broken intellectually.” But we decide with the heart, and then we make things with the head. So for a wrap-up, two or three things that our listeners should remember, apart from buying your book and thinking about the Academy for themselves. Sharing with them two or three things that is the core of what this is all about, that you want them to walk away with.
Marcella Bremer: Yes. Well the core is to be a positive agent yourself, you too can make a difference to your current culture at work. So if you want to work in a more positive culture, how about being the change you wish to see on the team, and that could be showing up as you are. So being as authentic as you dare to be at work. And start giving the others positive compliments about things you really like about them or ask more questions.
So those are small interaction interventions that you can do to start changing the climate around you, for starters. And then, if people copy that behavior, and they might like it as well, you could be the start of developing a more positive culture at work. So that is something that I would like to tell people, there’s always something you can do so you matter as well. So every interaction is an opportunity to develop a more positive culture, for starters.
Andi Simon: I’ll add to that, as we’re thinking about it. Business has been telling us, as we work with colleges, to help them with the four C’s. They need to communicate, coordinate, collaborate, and create, which is in some ways, similar to the behavior of a positive organization you want. Connection and collaboration, you want a real positive awareness, you want to be able to learn and you want purpose.
And all of this is coming out of your daily interactions. They’re not highfalutin, it’s really how we get things done. And it is a real balance in different styles. So now is a very exciting time because the times are changing. And there’s nothing better than for the changes to be a catalyst for this.
So whether it’s the millennials moving into management, or the Gen Zs who are going into colleges and coming next, meaning they have 10,000 hours of video games under their belt before they finish high school, at least in the US, and they have an eight second attention span. So whether you want to change or not, they’re going to be changing the world that we’re in as the boomers move out, and the new generations move in. They’ve just got to do things differently.
Marcella Bremer: Thanks for adding that. Yes. Well, we were wrapping up. But the final comment is that, yes, the pulse of the ingredients of the positive culture align very well with these younger generations that want learning and autonomy, and being authentic and showing vulnerability at work as well. Because, you know, that means there’s trust, and you’ll exchange new ideas. I mean, share ideas and share lots of energy to get things done. And that’s the basis of positive culture and true engagement.
Andi Simon: Well that means that you and I have to come back for a follow-up because as we are working through this, the new guys aren’t the bad guys. And the old guys aren’t the bad guys. But I can tell you how many companies I work with, where the boomers and the Gen Ys can’t talk to each other. And the poor Gen Xs are translators because they speak different languages and their bodies talk differently. They are very different people.
Let me wrap us up here. This has been a wonderful opportunity. Marcella Bremer is absolutely a very special woman. If you haven’t taken a look at her new book, Developing a Positive Culture where People and Performance Thrive, it will be coming out shortly. It’s available on Amazon where you can pre-order it as I have done. And in fact, the Academy that we spoke about is called the Positive Culture Academy. And Marcella, where can they find it? The website for the Positive Culture Academy?
Marcella Bremer: That’s positive-culture.com. So if you go there, the website, that’s where you can enroll in the Academy, and you’ll also find a page about the book, if you want to read more or download a leaflet.
Andi Simon: It’s sometimes hard to remember an email to reach you, but would you share your email?
Marcella Bremer: Yes, it’s really simple because it’s Marcela@positive-culture.com.
Andi Simon: It’s been really a treat, I can’t tell you how much fun I have when I talk to people that I’ve worked with, and we never have enough time to share what we’re doing. And so this is very shareable, I’m going to share our podcasts.
I want to thank all of you who have been listening in today. Thanks for joining us On the Brink With Andi Simon. And sometimes it says as much about you as that business of yours. Remember, we’d love to hear your questions, so send them to info@Andisimon.com. And when Marcella’s podcast comes out, send us all your questions, and we’ll forward them along because I bet you’re at the brink, as my book is called, the beginning to change that culture so it’s a more meaningful, purposeful one, and people get along and get things done. Marcella, thanks so much. Everybody listening, have a wonderful day. Bye now. Thank you.