One of my hobbies is gardening. Every spring I plant a vegetable garden, and for a while I attend to it daily. I water the plants regularly; I keep the weeds away by carefully tilling the soil and mulching. About a month into the growing season, my garden looks like an image from Better Homes and Gardens magazine. And then I go on vacation for a few weeks. When I return the garden is overrun with weeds. Some plants are doing well, while others are not.
For those organizations that already have a healthy culture, and for those who have worked to change their culture into one which they are happy and proud of, the next challenge is sustaining that culture. Organizational culture is like a garden: without tending to it, it will not thrive. Weeds will come in and overtake the once idyllic green space.
Just as effective leaders don’t ever feel that they have arrived, healthy organizations never become complacent. assuming that they have arrived. Instead, they continually revisit and reinforce those things that make their workplace culture healthy. As in gardening, leaders need to be asking themselves what they need to fertilize and what they need to weed out of their garden to keep their garden healthy.
Sustaining healthy culture requires us to assess and monitor our culture, making changes and adaptations along the way. Culture change is a journey that never actually ends.