What Was Your First Clue?

How you show up matters. How organizations show up matters. Bad behavior doesn’t just impact people inside the existing organization, it has external impacts, too. 

I recently had a close connection go through a horrendous hiring and interview process. The bad behavior started early on with some disrupted and incomplete communication, and it continued with some truly repulsive interviewing tactics. It concluded with an outdated, inflexible, and frankly inappropriate process. 

For an organization that was suffering from a 20% vacancy level, the way they showed up really mattered. He won’t be joining their team. 

As we discussed how the process represented their organizational culture, I asked, “What was your first clue?” Turns out there were many! Clumsy email communication, unclear deadlines, processes that keep changing on the fly without warning, inappropriate interview questions, and interviewees using old school, outdated, unfair tactics. None of that indicates a healthy culture. 

In a completely opposite scenario, when I was an Assistant City Manager for a community of about 140,000 people, we were really clear on how we wanted to show up for our team members and employees. In a large organization, there are seemingly endless opportunities to show up for and interact with employees. We had a management team of three, and our stated commitment was that at least two of us would show up to each employee event, promotion ceremony, or team gathering that we were invited to. We wanted their first clue about our organizational culture to be clear. 

Where your time goes reveals your priorities. 

As a leadership team, we were crystal clear that employees were our top priority. We were actively (not passively) committed to creating and maintaining a healthy and positive employee culture. We showed up with full presence, whether it was for a new employee orientation just getting started, a team meeting or potluck, a promotion, or a retirement. It mattered. So when someone wondered about what we were doing, their first clue would be clear. They would see us, and it would clue them into the fact that we supported our team members. 

As you consider what’s happening in your organization or how you want to show up as a leader for those around you, what’s the first clue someone would get about you or your team? And is it the one you want them to have?

- Nicole



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