A recipe for positive culture

What would it be like to see your team eager to go, engaged, motivated and on track no matter what day of the week it is?

People at a table
Kyria McGill
Photo courtesy of entrepreneur.com

Why are Mondays so hard? There are songs written about it, memes created, motivational posters hung on the walls – all about the dread people feel heading back to work on Monday morning. There are grumblings, deep sighs, copious amounts of coffee brewed and drunk, and maybe even some creative reasons to skip work all together. But what if it didn’t have to be this way? Why are Mondays so hard?

What would it be like to see your team eager to go, engaged, motivated and on track no matter what day of the week it is? Sounds rather good to me – but how do we create this unicorn of a business? It’s actually quite simple – you create a positive culture (ok maybe it isn’t quite that simple).

A positive culture recipe only has three ingredients: 100% engagement, 100% education and 100% empowerment to get 300% positive culture (OK the math is not the greatest but stick with me). Which aisle of the business store can that be found in? Believe it or not you have all the ingredients at your fingertips – we just need to mix them together right.

So, let’s ‘cook’ a positive culture (the recipe analogy seems to be working) – you have to have the recipe (check), you need to prep your ingredients, and then you need to put it all together and enjoy. Let’s get cooking!


  • Engagement
  • Education
  • Empowerment
  • Open mindedness
  • Ability to handle feedback
  • Strong foundation
  • Clear vision and mission
  • Best talent/teams


Ongoing and constant


Mix your strong foundation, clear vision and mission, and best talent together. A strong foundation should consist of clear communication, shared understanding of the vision and mission statements, human resource foundation (handbook, clear policies, compliance, etc.) and a recruiting strategy that enhances your team. These items can be a bit time consuming to create (and will always be changing) but your positive culture will fall flat without these key components.

Once you have your strong foundation together, put aside to rise (we will check back on this often throughout the process).

Take your engagement and begin to mix it up. Work with your team, leaders, managers and even customers to get an idea of what they see as the priority, learn their “why” in doing what they do, get feedback (this is the tough part) on what they like, why they stay, what they need. As you roll all this out you will start to see patterns regarding areas that are engaging and those that are not. This is a key step in creating a positive culture – they have to be listening to you, they have to be on the same journey as you, and they have to trust your vision and mission.

Separate the positives and the negatives (but don’t throw any of them away just yet). Be sure to check on your strong foundation and adjust as needed.

Once the engagement is mixed up and separated (positive and negative) begin to add in the education. Education should focus on the foundation first – ensure everyone understands the vision, mission, the why, the rules (we like rules). Then begin to pull from the engagement areas that you can clarify, dig in deeper to the whys and provide opportunity to enhance and support your team. In short give them the tools they need to be successful and that support their needs as well as the organizations (please note that it is important to focus first on needs versus wants).

Finally take your foundation, your engagement, your education and add in the empowerment. This is the difficult step in making a positive culture. You invest, listen and provide the right tools for your team. Fold in that strong foundation. Now let them do their job. Trust in them, believe in them, believe in your vision and mission. Support their wins and learn from their losses. Celebrate them. Empower them.

Didn’t turn out the way you wanted? No worries … just try again. Evaluate the successes and the misses. Adjust. Evaluate. Adjust again. Evaluate again. This recipe is one you can (and should) prepare over and over. Tweak the proportions – flavor to taste – make this yours. While there still may be some Monday morning grumblings (it is a Monday after all) keep mixing your engagement, education and empowerment in to all that you do.

Kyria McGill, MBA/SHRM-SCP, is the founder and lead people guru for CLM Business Solutions, providing human resource foundations and support that focus on creating positive cultures through strong organizational strategies that focus on engagement, education and empowerment. She can be reached at kmcgill@clmbusinesssolutions.com.

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