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Are You Building a Powerful Culture or a Culture of Power?


Power is at the core of your organizational culture whether or not you accept or even recognize it. In fact, if you don’t accept or recognize it, it’s likely that you are the one benefiting from it. You’re “in power”.


Regardless of whether you do or not, I promise that others see it, and they see you through it.


So, the question is: are you building a powerful culture or a culture of power? Understanding the difference and how your people interpret your culture, and your position as a leader in it, will determine the nature and effectiveness (or not) of your leadership over the long term.


Here are a few distinctions that might help clarify:

A powerful culture believes in its people.

A culture of power believes in the system, structure, and organization.

A powerful culture grows power.

A culture of power consolidates and organizes it.

A powerful culture believes that knowledge and ideas are everywhere in your organization.

A culture of power believes that knowledge and ideas come from the top.

A powerful culture celebrates people at all levels.

A culture of power celebrates a select few.

A powerful culture focuses on relationships, responsibility, and accountability.

A culture of power focuses on accountability.

A powerful culture seeks transparency.

A culture of power keeps secrets.

A powerful culture communicates.

A culture of power distributes information.

In a powerful culture, our people feel a sense of ownership for their work.

In a culture of power, work feels directive and even compulsory.

In a powerful culture, there is joy.

In a culture of power, there is fear.

In a powerful culture, everyone feels responsible for leading and following.

In a culture of power, there are a few leaders and many followers.

In a powerful culture, everyone teaches and learns.

In a culture of power, some are teachers and others are learners.

In a powerful culture, leadership is emergent.

In a culture of power, leadership is constructed.

In a powerful culture, change is both bottom-up and top-down.

In a culture of power, change is top-down.

In a powerful culture, people naturally create.

In a culture of power, people wait for others “above them” to create.

In a powerful culture, people are proactive.

In a culture of power, people are reactive.

In a powerful culture, people seek truth.

In a culture of power, people seek affirmation.

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