I had a great revelation recently after working through some team tension.  My first reaction was to furrow my brow and think dark thoughts.  Picture a Peanuts cartoon character with a black scribble mark above their head.

Now I’m normally an extremely positive person so it had me wondering where I picked up this behavior.

The answer came pretty quickly.  I learned this behavior during my employment childhood from some of the CEOs that I worked for.  I’ve always wanted to run a business so I paid extra attention to the chiefs in my past.

As I gain confidence and experience running a ship, I realize that I’ve probably observed just as many bad behaviors as good.  Here are a few I cringe at:

  • How does the CEO react when someone messes up?  Status quo is to write an emotional note and CC the hell out of it.
  • How does the CEO react when someone offers an idea?  Cock their head sideways, were you talking?  We’ve got this covered.
  • How accessible is the CEO?  She’s not.  Follow the chain of command.

Sound familiar?  I hope not, but it has been the top down cultural I’ve experienced from many previous companies.  To be fair, I’ve had a few positive experiences too.

Culture rolls down from above.  So can dark thoughts and bad behavior.

This is a challenging realization.  It means I have to check myself to make sure I’m reacting how I really want to and not just how I’ve been “taught.”  I reject that list above, but if I’m not careful, I can allow the stress of the moment to derail my mission to create an un-agency, an un-company.

The action to be taken here is to make a conscience effort, a deliberate effort break out of the cycle and ensure this is the best company we’ve all ever worked at.