There continues to be a great deal of focus on organizational culture and environment. Whether you are focusing on that issue for the first time or whether you are looking at changing or improving an existing culture, it may be wise to remember that, like the long journey which begins with one step, an organizational culture is the cumulative effect of individual attitudes, values, and standards. Changing or improving the culture begins with a focus on the individual.
How you genuinely feel about yourself, your worth, and the worth of others greatly influences everything you do and the results you achieve. How the people in your organization feel about themselves, their worth, and the worth of others will affect their achievements and the culture of the organization. Goal setting is a process that creates an environment in which people want to succeed and are recognized and rewarded for achievement. Another tool that can positively influence growth is affirmations. An affirmation is a statement that reinforces what you believe to be true. You use affirmations every day, both in thought and conversation. These are often ideas you have taken from some other source—quotations, scripture, and family sayings—which reinforce your values.
Such borrowed expressions only become effective affirmations when they correspond with your value system and internal beliefs. Once accepted and internalized, they lose their borrowed qualities and become part of you. The power of affirmations can be best recognized when we realize that the mind doesn’t know the difference between real and imagined. For example, suppose late at night, you imagine there is a prowler in your home. Are you less frightened than if you knew there was a prowler in your home? Certainly not. You are afraid because you imagine a fearful situation.
The use of affirmations to reinforce growth and improve conditions is an application of the same principle. Through the use of affirmations, you begin to imagine that you possess those qualities and skills that you want to develop more. You begin to visualize yourself acting and behaving in a manner consistent with your goals. As your new image becomes clearer, the behavior is easier. The use of affirmations is also an effective management tool. By affirming certain characteristics and behaviors and helping others to develop affirmations, you can enhance growth and development throughout the organization.
Affirmations should have the following qualities: they should be positive, stated in the first person singular, should be within the realm of capacity to believe, and should be directly related to your goals. Affirmations should also employ the power of spaced repetition. By repeating affirmations over and over, day after day, these positive thoughts begin to affect the subconscious mind and influence behavior. If, at first, affirmations seem difficult to compose and use daily, remember that you are developing a new habit. Once you see and feel the results that follow the repeated use of affirmations, you will want to use the tool with others. Affirmations help use to see others and ourselves not as we are but as we can become.
Create a culture in your organization in which failure is viewed as an opportunity to learn and critical to innovation and discovery. Recognize and reward new ideas, attempts to improve something, and even failure when it results in trying something new or an attempt to improve a process. Encourage innovation and utilize the goal setting process to get people to set stretch goals and brainstorm innovative solutions. It stimulates creativity, broadens options, and produces better decisions by looking at many alternatives and selecting the best.
Goethe said, “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and help them to become what they’re capable of being.”
This post is courtesy of Tammy A.S. Kohl is President of Resource Associates Corporation. For over 30 years, RAC has specialized in business and management consulting, strategic planning, leadership development, executive coaching, and youth leadership. For more information visit http://www.resourceassociatescorp.com/ or contact RAC directly at 800.799.6227.