Defeating a Toxic Culture: Consistency and Clarity Wins!

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The Toxic Avenger is not a film you routinely encounter.

Released in 1984 as a “B-movie,” the film uses an encounter with toxic-waste to transform janitor Melvin Ferd into the mop-wielding title character, and the plot turns more offbeat and arguably more distasteful from there.

The super-powered, comedic, and horrific hero strikes me as a perfectly imperfect symbol for organizational culture: What force on earth can equal the shape-shifting, immense potential for unleashing the good, bad, and the ugly as workplace culture?

What force on earth has equal shape-shifting, immense potential for serving up the good, bad, and the ugly as workplace culture?

Culture’s Power & Potential

In 2012, Shawn Parr published an article in the magazine Fast Company with a title that summarizing the power of culture within business: "Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch” (the famous book by the same title, authored by Curt Coffman and Dr. Kathie Sorenson, published a year later).

The excerpt below is what Parr, “Guvner & CEO” of the brand-product-experience agency Bulldog Drummond, calls out as the significant benefits that come from a vibrant and alive culture:

Focus: Aligns the entire company towards achieving its vision, mission, and goals.

Motivation: Builds higher employee motivation and loyalty.

Connection: Builds team cohesiveness among the company’s various departments and divisions.

Cohesion: Builds consistency and encourages coordination and control within the company.

Spirit: Shapes employee behavior at work, enabling the organization to be more efficient and alive.

Check out what the Harvard Business Review says about positive work cultures being more productive: []

In Video We Can Trust

Leaders who communicate consistently and as honestly as possible foster a culture of empowerment from which many of Parr’s benefits emerge.

Face-to-face communications offer an unmatched level of certitude and impact; essentially: “I know what she said because I heard it in person.”

While streaming technology and other conferencing tools have allowed one to speaker to address many individuals, often the constraints of time and logistics overwhelm the requirements needed to execute “face-to-face” communications.

And that’s when video can save your day.

Consider just a few video fundamentals:
- Content is delivered with immediacy and intimacy.
It’s virtually without scale in terms of a speaker-to-audience ratio.
- It’s content that can be enhanced for emphasis or clarity.
It’s content that can be archived, creating a record for reference.

If you want to create an organizationalculture founded upon empowered participants, using video as a core component of your communications program helps put that commitment into practice.


John Misselwitz
Communications Expert & Scriptwriter at Frontline Productions
John is a contributing writer at Frontline Productions with more than 20 years of experience in communications, including nearly 15 years creating, designing and managing executive and employee communications.