How to safely “lift” a culture
We all know that there are certain safety precautions to take when lifting heavy objects. Those tips also apply to moving Ohio State from Excellence to Eminence; after all, transforming a culture also takes a lot of heavy lifting.
In a recent article, Ron Kaufman, a global consultant who specializes in building service cultures, used tips on a safety poster to illustrate how company leaders could transform their culture. In “Five Keys to Creating an Uplifting Service Culture,” Kaufman said that it takes everyone, not just a department, to create a new culture; in the case of this client, the desired culture centered around customer service.
“Safety posters offer a simple, best practice to lift anything heavy, like a package, a tool—or even an entire culture. The posters instruct employees to stretch properly, position their body carefully, and use their strongest muscles. Plus, they tell employees to study and practice proper habits continuously.
When it comes to uplifting a culture—engaging people, motivating people, building loyalty, increasing performance, and creating a sustainable advantage—many companies pass by service as a solution, because somehow the concept has been improperly labeled.”
As I read Kaufman’s article, I started thinking about how we can safely “lift” our culture at Ohio State, and strengthen our focus on well being and optimal performance. Here are some tips that came to mind:
- Warm up and stretch. Warming up and stretching your muscles gives you the confidence and ability to safely lift a little more weight. The same is true with new habits – start slow and push beyond your comfort zone to learn new skills, and build on current skills. Be creative and identify new ways of doing things, and new problems to tackle. This is the core of who we are as a research institution; how can we expand that curiosity to discover even more?
- Use your core. We’re all familiar with the adage, “Lift with your legs,” or use your core muscles. This ensures you are using all of your strength, and maintaining your balance. This also applies with the culture we’re building at Ohio State – focus on your principles and the core mission of the university, and the rest will follow.
Remember, in order to maintain and build strength in all aspects of your life, you have to take care of your core – yourself. Make your physical and mental health a priority. You can access resources to help with this through Your Plan For Health.
- Ask for assistance. Sometimes, things are too heavy to lift on your own. What is immovable for one person can easily be picked up by two or three. It will take everyone to build our desired culture. While change begins at the individual level, success is a group effort; as a group, agree to live the tools and mindsets that lead to a high performing culture, and support each other by offering coaching and feedback.
- Practice. Practicing, or consciously reminding yourself to use the safety tips when you lift heavy objects, helps it become second nature; while the tips are simple, it’s easy to slip into old habits. Practice is also the key to master the tools and mindsets that enable high performance. Take time to practice – either individually or with a peer coach.