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Singing a Great Culture into Being – Because Work Should Bring Fun and Fellowship

One of the many incredibly creative decorated pickle jars with which the team at Tri-County Health Care launched The Pickle Challenge for a more positive workplace culture


The non-negotiable first step to creating a healthy workplace is to eliminate the things that are detrimental to health. You can bring in gym equipment, serve broccoli in the cafeteria, and give everyone a daily break for walking meditation, but if you still allow people to smoke cigarettes, you will not have a healthy workplace.

In the same way, the non-negotiable first step to building a more positive organizational culture is to courageously and creatively confront the toxic emotional negativity that poisons a workplace environment. You can bring in motivational speakers and stage pep rallies, but if your culture tolerates disrespectful or uncivil behavior, rumor-mongering and backstabbing, chronic complaining and finger-pointing, you will struggle to create a “great place to work” sort of culture.

And just as it only takes one person lighting a cigarette to pollute the lungs of everyone in a room, a small number of emotional vampires can suck the joy out of the work, suck the energy out of the people around them, and suck the life out of an organization.

Last week I wrote about The Pickle Challenge at Tri-County Health Care in Wadena, Minnesota (A Simple Promise that Changes Cultures). In that article, I also wrote about how important it is to sustain momentum so that it’s not just another “program of the month.”

Earlier this week the folks at TCHC sent me this video of one of their managers singing about their hospital being a Pickle-Free Zone. As you watch the 2-minute video also note what’s happening off-camera – the joy and laughter and obvious spirit of fellowship (one of the essential characteristics of a Culture of Ownership described in my book The Florence Prescription: From Accountability to Ownership) of the people in that morning huddle.

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