It’s not the Kitchen, It’s the Culture

You might ask yourself “why Carrie is obsessed with the kitchen? Is she losing it?  Is she obsessed with cleanliness?  Does she not have anything to do?  What is the deal?”

Well, those are all good questions and while I sometimes question my sanity, that is not it. And anyone who took a look at my desk would know, I am not a neat freak and my calendar would argue the latter.  Then why has the kitchen become this topic that I am obsessed with?  For those of you who know me, you know the subject of the discussion is seldom the root of the topic on my mind.  Huh?  It’s not the kitchen, it’s the culture.

If there is an empty soda can on the counter when I walk in the kitchen, I throw it out.  Is it my job? I think it is. But some don’t.  I’m sure there are leaders out there that have heard “that isn’t my job” or “I’m not being paid for that.”  We don’t like that do we? In fact, it makes us think “wow, what if I had said that? Would I be where I am today?”  Probably not.

At the start of this year, I asked everyone to volunteer to take a turn helping to keep the kitchen clean.  I took the first week and each week a new volunteer has volunteered on the markerboard.  Which is great but what did I learn about these folks?

  1. Respect – They have respect for their work environment and the people who created it.
  2. Teamwork – They are team conscious and contribute to the greater good.
  3. Initiative – They are self-motivated and have a willingness to go above and beyond.
  4. Attitude – They are action-oriented and get stuff done.

Proactivity can be found in more places than the kitchen.  There are volunteer committees and noticeable acts with other staff members and clients that stand out as well.  However, the kitchen (a cultural baseline) is a good place to start to recognize important characteristics that you might not get a chance to see in younger staff.  These behaviors sometimes go unnoticed and they shouldn’t.  I want to recognize those individuals’ dedication and hone those qualities in our team.

It’s not the kitchen, it’s the culture.