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Carolyn Swora, a workplace culture architect and author of Rules of Engagement, is an expert in creating positive company cultures. Swora, who previously worked at a pharmaceutical company, learned the importance of culture after her husband was diagnosed with cancer. 

“I had aspirations to climb the corporate ladder and then my husband was diagnosed with cancer. My life changed pretty fast,” Swora says. “Climbing to the top of the ladder wasn’t the most important thing.”

Instead, Swora focused on making every day an experience and brought that mentality with her to work. 

“Creating an experience was important,” Swora says. “If I could do it in a situation like that, why can’t I at work? How can I create an experience at work where I can enjoy what I do versus being told what I need to do. The more I had that approach, the more I realized other people didn’t have that approach. It became a mission and a purpose.” 

After that, Swora shifted her focus and created a methodology called “Purposeful Workplace Experience,” or PWE, that helps create thriving organizational cultures, regardless of the business climate. 

In order to create a positive culture, Swora says the values of the company must be defined. 

“How do people make decisions? How do they determine yes or no?” Swora says. “Problems happen when people make assumptions on values that drive success with the company.” 

If you believe your company needs a culture refresh, try outlining the values your company has, and, just as importantly, what the behaviors are that you aren’t looking for. Defining these will help with the recruiting and hiring process and help build the culture you’re looking for.

 

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