Communication: The Conduit of Culture

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Abigail Lucier February 10, 2020 I am amazed by the culture we’ve been able to create at Celero and how it’s taking hold across four companies that joined our family last year. One aspect of culture building, that I’ve noticed as especially crucial in a high-growth company that’s pulling together new acquisitions frequently, is communication.

Communication is the conduit of culture. When we’re communicating properly with each other, our culture grows. Conversely, when we aren’t communicating properly, culture withers. So, what does communicating properly look like? It starts with open dialogue, versus dictating what you want from others.

Since I’ve been at Celero, I’ve been learning to become an active listener. Being a great listener, who is not just eager to share their own thoughts, is critical for developing a healthy culture and a workspace where people are free to explore their ideas and collaborate to make them reality. Good listeners acknowledge that effective communication is about both talking and listening. Exchange is a two-way street. We must be able to send a message as well as receive them. While we might not always agree with that message, I do think that it’s important to at least be open to anything that your colleagues are trying to tell you.

To be able to sit down and actively listen to what somebody has to say, whether it’s about the project they’re working on or the difficult day they’re having, or whether it’s something going on at home or something great that’s on the horizon for them—being able to sit there and listen, not only will you gain an incredible amount of insight into their life and work, but you might be surprised to find that you’re also going to gain a significant amount of perspective into your own life and work. I believe that listening with intent is the catalyst to forming a connection with another person and ultimately a stronger bond amongst team members within your workspace.  

These conversations can be very motivating, and they encourage us to lean on each other versus going it alone. When you’re down on a particular day, your colleague can pick you up by helping you gain some perspective. As a result, things might not seem so bad after all, and they can help you find a way to recover and succeed. That project you’re complaining about might not be as difficult as you think, and you may just find yourself receiving the support you never knew you needed.

Being able to communicate your own thoughts effectively, while also actively listening to the contributions of others, is incredibly important.  I’m very thankful that this dynamic of two-way communication is yet another great aspect of our executive team’s approach to leading people. What they understand—and what I now understand as well—is that achieving big goals isn’t always about getting people to “buy in” to one general concept or theme. We are teammates here, not people to be sold on one person’s ideas or strategies. What this ethos speaks to is a willingness to trust each one of our colleagues to contribute their ingredient to Celero’s recipe for success. While creating a team of people that buy in to the program they are a part of is important, the way you go about doing so is far more important. Our executive leaders rely on the feedback of their team members to keep the business engaged and moving forward. If your team is left feeling as though they aren’t welcomed to make contributions, they will most likely feel disconnected from the program and culture.

When we trust each other, and we’re able to communicate that trust, not by trying to persuade each other but through genuine, two-way conversations that promote the best ideas and make us all better collaborators, there’s nothing we can’t achieve together.