When it comes to culture, feeling is everything.
When we walk into the arena of culture, we get distinct feelings, some more acute than others.
But be clear about this, every organization emits a cultural feeling.
The feelings we have shape our perspective, right or wrong. And that perspective shapes our experience with that organization; whether it be as a customer or employee.
I can feel it if the culture is fake or real, happy or sad, overbearing and restrictive or freeing and empowering. As a customer I can feel it if the employees are serving out of obligation or out of joy. You could call it a mood, a culture mood. Whatever we call it, our experience follows the feeling.
What kind of mood is there in your organization?
A restaurant can have an uptight and anxious mood where you feel the servers are just trying to get through the rush. I experience that as if I’m not wanted, an annoyance to them.
Or a restaurant can present a relaxed and caring mood where you feel that everyone there is glad to see you and happy to serve you. I experience this as a welcome guest.
A hotel can emit a dark and dreary mood, when you walk in you feel you’ve entered the dark ages, and the receptionist slouches and takes a million years to get you checked in. I experience this as depressing.
It can also emit a friendly mood, like you’re part of the family, they are glad you are there and spending your time away from home with them. I experience this as uplifting, and am relieved to be in a place that is so friendly.
A retail store can emit a cold, disingenuous, patronizing mood, where the employees are so busy they give you a half-hearted smile, answer your questions briskly, so they can get back to stocking the shelves. I experience this as fake service, not real service.
On the other hand, I can walk into a retail store and feel like the sales people are not only genuinely interested in me, but they answer my questions with patience and take their time to be with me in the moment. I experience this as an important human being they can impact.
All of these experiences were shaped by the culture mood I felt.
What is the mood of your organization?