Toxic Culture – An innocent weed.

Kudzu is an invasive species common in the American South, a type of ivy introduced 150 years ago that suffocates the plants underneath it as it spreads. When left undisturbed, the vine can grow up to a foot per day, and even overtake a house - an entire house - in less than a year.

This kind of rapid change-through-negligence is not just limited to kudzu; we see it with countless other invasives: mold, algae, infectious disease, which spread quickly when left to their own designs.

The most effective tool for destabilizing good and powerful work is precisely this - lack of attention.

But if this is true, then is the reverse, as well? Seeds, when tended carefully, grow into life-giving plants. Friendships, when invested in over time, develop into remarkable networks of trust and support. Organizations that plan carefully for the future and show deliberate care for their members create work of tremendous value. The good, the rare, the beautiful always require intentional time and effort.

Strong, positive program culture is cultivated on purpose: program values nursed and re-visited; strong co-leader partnerships built with a keen eye, and patiently brought along. Toxicity spreads easily, but impactful work requires our full attention.

How are you invested in developing a strong, positive program culture? Do you check-in individually with peers and leaders at every level? How do you create exciting expectations for your work? What we do together is important - always - but while deadlines may feel urgent, we can never turn our eyes away from the day-to-day: to stop and greet a friend, to learn someone's name, to approach one another with curiosity and humility.