Go to work naked

June 26, 2015

That’s right, you read the title correctly – tomorrow, give it a go. Strip off and walk into work with complete confidence.

Thinking about how your colleagues and boss might react? Don’t worry, my suggestion was not literal, but more about going into work and being completely open about who you are. You’ll soon know if your organisation appreciates you in your barest state, or if you need to move on.

We do a lot of work with organisations in defining and building their culture. But what most companies fail to realise is that culture is predominantly defined by the shared ambitions, aspirations and actions of the people that make up the organisation. So there can be many instances where the culture of an organisation, team or department has changed and it just doesn’t ‘feel’ the same. If you’re familiar with this, then this post if perhaps written for you.

Looked at yourself in the mirror recently?

I know a lot of people who go to work without having any real purpose for turning up, apart from earning a living. Many people, who started their jobs with buckets of excitement, have quickly become disillusioned with why they go to work. Be honest, how many times have you taken a conscious step back to evaluate if whether or not you ‘fit in’?

We talk a lot of personal brand and the idea that you have to manage yourself in a way that you would any commercial business. Culture in those terms is the equivalent to what we would call the environmental context of an organisation. Would you let your business operate in an environment, where it wasn’t able to be all it could be?

There are lots of great books and resources out there that talk about how to think about yourself. But the best advice I’ve come across is to write a business plan for yourself. Now it sounds long and arduous, but if you do it in a way that makes sense to you then the task becomes easier. Starting with the basics, define what it is you want to achieve, and then start to list the things you enjoy and don’t enjoy. Give it a go, even if you sketch it out on a piece of paper – you’ll soon fill the page.

This exercise is the probably the single hardest look you’ve had in the mirror for a while. What you should find is a reflection of what you think to be the best image of yourself.

Confident in yourself?

Once you’re clear with who you are and where you want to be, take that image into work and be honest with your team. Tell them where you want to be and how you work best.

Now here is the tough part, what happens if it doesn’t go down well? Take it from me, that’s your cue to start to consider some new options. Now that doesn’t have to mean quit your job, but it does require you to take some action because nobody else is going to. It might sound a little drastic, but this is not only for your benefit; it’s also in the interests of the organisation.

There are always opportunities available, whether that be a change in the working structure, team or with another organisation. Don’t worry about what could go wrong; really think about how much could go right.

It should come as no surprise that if you end up as an organisation with a group of people who are clear and confident about who they are and where they want to go, the company culture will strengthen itself.

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