We know that a positive culture is important for any organization’s health. In a survey by CultureIQ, 73% of respondents indicated that a great corporate culture drives competitive advantage for their company. They also reported higher engagement levels and a stronger brand.

It’s often easier to notice the effects of a negative culture (high turnover, low productivity, or passive/aggressive communication) than what is causing the behavior. How do you begin cultivating a positive culture?

Start by stopping 3 behaviors that are subconsciously infecting your organization’s culture: We/They, Renter Mentality, & Victim Thinking.


We/They is the practice of phrasing a message in a way that points fingers or shifts the blame to another person. The messenger remains well-positioned and avoids conflict.

We/they sounds like…

“Last week you asked me for a raise. Shelly, I spoke with my boss, and unfortunately he said no. I want you to know this was his decision, not mine…”

“I would have an answer for you, but I still haven’t heard from ______.

In Stop the Subconscious Behavior Infecting Your OrganizationDr. Janet Pilcher explains, “When we/they occurs in an organization, we shut down the possibility for achieving a great culture and limit the opportunities for reaching our organizational goals”.

When leaders communicate this way about senior management, they give employees permission to do the same. The negativity spreads, and employees lose trust in the organization.


“Owners” and “renters” in the workplace demonstrate different mindsets and behaviors. Renters only look at the short term and aren’t invested in your organization. Renters have a ‘that’s not my job’ attitude and rarely take initiative or accept additional responsibilities. All in all, they lack a sense of ownership and pride in the organization.

Owners, however, invest in the organization long term to increase its value. They are willing to do whatever it takes and do so with a positive attitude. Owners consistently care and connect their personal identity and worth to the work of the organization.

When leaders don’t address renter mentality, the results are destructive. “We all want to work in organizations with owners and keeping renters around just drains the energy and productivity,” says Dr. Pilcher.


You’re probably familiar with this behavior. We all have a friend who always seems to have something dramatic or terrible happening to them. Acting like a victim shifts the blame to others, or to fate or bad luck. Victim thinking focuses on the barriers instead of finding solutions or doing the work. It is a ‘why does this always happen to me?’ mindset that freezes productivity and prevents us from taking ownership.

How can we expel these subconscious behaviors from ourselves and our organization?


  1. Do what you say you’re going to do and do it well. – The ball is always in your court.
  2. Craft messages without throwing someone else under the bus.
  3. Live and model the organizational values.
  4. Stop talking about how bad things are.
  5. Believe you are in control of your own happiness. – Take responsibility to shift your negative emotions to positive ones.
  6. Provide an environment to give employees opportunities to contribute, to know that they are valued and listened to.
  7. Hold everyone accountable for their behavior.
  8. Execute well by taking meaningful actions every day.

“We come to work with one common job every day, every one of us, and that’s to execute well,” said Dr. Pilcher, during her most recent podcast.

In 20 minutes or less every week, discover how you can be the best you can be at work with Accelerate Your Performance.

Listen to February’s episodes on how to stop making excuses and turn a negative culture around on our podcast page. You can also listen on BuzzSprout, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, Spotify, TuneIn, or ask Alexa to “play Accelerate Your Performance.” Then, in the comments below, let us know what questions you would like to hear Dr. Pilcher address on her next episodes.

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