One of our favorite thought leaders, Ray Dalio, coined a phrase in his recent book Principles; “embrace reality and deal with it.” Such a simple statement to say that there is something real and tangible (and likely messy) taking place all around you; whether you decide to embrace it as reality (or even acknowledge its existence) is entirely up to you. The opposite of this, as Dalio puts it, is “impractical idealism” or the ungrounded fantasyland we sometimes live in when things aren’t as we’d like them to be, yet we pretend that everything is fine anyway.

So…what’s the reality of your workplace? Of your company’s culture? Do you even know?

Chances are, you think your organizational culture is doing just fine. Everyone on the team seems to get along. And, most importantly, the bottom line is being met, while the well-oiled machine churns out your products and services, profitably. Here’s the thing though. There are many versions of reality. You have your reality from your leadership seat. It probably looks at your organization through the lens of productivity and profitability, employee satisfaction and customer retention. Your employees have a different reality. Their lens is looking at your organization through job security and stability, meeting expectations, and their own individualized performance (to name a few). So, which reality is more real?

It would be easy to paint a biased, subjective reality here – based on your lens and viewpoint: “hey, each of my employees gets a fair wage for their work and I’m a relaxed and easy-going boss. Everyone must LOVE working here! If they don’t, there’s something wrong with them.” The problem with this statement is that it comes from an uninformed viewpoint. Yours. Unless you’ve actually dug into the perceptions of your team and asked them what they think, you don’t know squat about reality from their perspective. It isn’t right to assume, either.

Don’t wait for a big, ugly reality to come out before you start investigating your company’s culture. And please don’t wait until you have some organizational crisis before you start proactively defining what you WANT your culture to be. In case no one has told you – you and your leadership team drive the environment. Every. Single. Day. This happens predominantly through your policies, both written and nuanced. Because, policy drives behavior. Behavior drives culture. Don’t like the behaviors in your workforce? Let’s swim upstream and determine where you and your leadership team allowed it to be.

Accepting reality means taking personal responsibility for your company’s culture. It’s not enough to throw a few employees into a job, set goals and expectations, then walk away half expecting the whole thing to sort itself out. You know people. People are complex. If you’re expecting your company to be this super awe-inspiring place to work just because you think it should be, you may be stuck in dreamland for a while.

Don’t guess. Find out. And we can help you do it. Contact us to learn how the PLACER Method can help you figure out the reality of your organization’s culture and embrace new ways to make it EXACTLY the place you (and your employees) want to be.