What can you do today to improve your organization’s workplace culture?

Simple, be interested.

Get to know your co-workers, your colleagues, your office-mates, your team-members.

Yes, those people. The same team members whose livelihood is supported by the same signature as yours.  The same team members who are wearing the same jersey you are, who answer the question “Where do you work?” similarly to how you do.

Come from a place of curiosity and wonderment

Ask yourself, “Who are these fabulous people I’ve chosen to spend 2000 hours of my life with, sharing space and committing to accomplishing the same work-mission in the world?”

And yes, I said fabulous.  Your co-workers are fabulous and lead interesting lives. Learn about them, especially the ones you don’t know very well.  They are a wealth of untapped goodness.

As Liz Gilbert would say, “Interesting people are interested.”

We’ve all got quirks

Yes, we’ve all got quirks. And so do our colleagues. Their tuna salad stinks up the company kitchen area. They tap their pen incessantly. They talk to themselves or chomp on their snacks. They are perfectly imperfect human beings, just like you and me.  You’ve got quirks you probably don’t even realize. I know I do.

So what?  Give them some grace and get to know them. Get to know them so you stop caring about the surface baloney that keeps you separated. You know, the surface stuff that we use to judge, evaluate and compare.

I’ll guarantee they can tell you a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat, share a super time-saving secret, or offer a piece of advice that your circle of friends wouldn’t have thought of. And for you introverts out there rolling your eyes, I’m just asking you to reach out to one colleague at a time.  No group hugs, I promise.

It really is simple

Say “Hello.”  Let them know, that as a fellow team member, you’d like to get to know them a bit better.  You’re curious about who they are and what they’re up to in the world.  Find a few minutes, grab coffee or take a walking break and find out what the two of you have in common.

But beware

My biggest challenge to you in this awesome opportunity is don’t go for the cheap connect. You know, it’s the one where you kvetch or complain about your organization or where you even complain about the weather or how busy you are. Instead, uncover real deal, meaningful, common ground. It doesn’t have to cover a whole continent. You’re simply looking for a small square of relatedness, whether its a hobby you might share, a sport you’re a fan of, or a game you like to play.

Need a simple place to start?

Ask this simple question, “Of all the places in the world, what brought you to work here?  Tell me more about what you do every day. What do you love about your role in the organization?”

After reading this, you might be wondering, “How does this improve my workplace culture?”  Because, when you start connecting with your colleagues, you become a catalyst for one of your coworkers feeling like they are known, that they matter and that they are included.

Chances are you’ll feel a bit more that way too.