man driving in car with hands on steering wheel

Did you know:

  • That only 53% of individuals in the United States plan on receiving the COVID vaccine
  • That 47% of individuals surveyed believe all children should be vaccinated before in-person learning takes place
  • That 66% of those surveyed do not plan on returning to pre-pandemic activities until “officials” say it is safe to do so or the majority of the population is vaccinated

Invisibly survey

As the leader of a team, organization, company, or business what does that tell you about getting back to normal?  If normal is getting back to pre-pandemic levels of activity and interaction, it is going to take a while. 

Let’s use the internals/externals model below to help you establish the behaviors and culture you want for your workplace. Start with a review of the model using the diagram below for reference.

diagram showcasing internal and external actions

Each individual is a cloud. The rectangle is the environment you work in. The arrows pushing on the cloud are the influences you experience in your environment. The arrows inside your cloud are all the tools individual have to pushback against the environment to maintain their shape.

Let’s name some of those items:

Externals may be the daily pressures of personal and professional life such as; project budget, work schedule, commute, lack of sleep, health concerns, work environment, colleagues, schedule pressure, etc., name more if you like. Some are big arrows some are small. Add your own and give them the relative size they deserve.

Internals are those factors that allow individual to push back against the environment. They may be; education, experience, health, values, respect from colleagues, family support, personal mission, policy and procedures, the team, etc. Add your own and give them the relative size they deserve.

The results of decisions made by individuals are the actions and behaviors by the internals and externals. The collection of behaviors set the culture of an organization.

Analyze Your Desired Culture

Start by defining the “Actions/Behaviors”. What are the actions/behaviors you want in your work environment? Pre-pandemic standards or something different. Be specific.

Next, examine the external pressures on an individual. They may be their home environment, the policies and procedures you are putting in place, co-workers, whether they were vaccinated or not, and any others you want to add.

The final step, evaluate the internals of the individuals? Do the individuals trust co-workers to follow the established guidelines, are they vaccinated, what is their risk profile, COVID-19 education, do they live with high-risk individuals, trust or do not trust the vaccine and procedures, or the data from the officials.

Taking the above into account will likely impact individuals differently. The result; a variety of actions and behaviors that will define your culture.

Is it the culture you want?

Deliberately Define Your Culture

Examine the model and determine where you have the ability to influence the environment. I believe you as the leader have a significant impact on the environment. Some examples of external forces you exert are: policy and procedures, safety protocols, communication and education about protocols, protocol enforcement, interactions with dissenters, and personal empathy and example.

If the externals align and support the internals of individuals, I predict you will have the culture you desire. If they conflict, I predict a less desirable culture.

The essential questions for you the leader is: How are your actions setting the desired culture?

Take control by:

  • Defining the desired culture
  • Understanding the external forces you control
  • Understanding the internal forces affecting each individual