Where does corporate culture come from?

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Jonar Nader

Jonar Nader says that you cannot change the culture, by changing the culture. You have to trace the culture back to its roots, and stomp on it. Further below is a transcript of the video.

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Here is the transcript:

Host: If you are feeling fed up and frustrated with the inefficiency and inaccuracy in your workplace, don’t give up. There could be a cure in the new book, “How to Lose Friends and Infuriate People”. We welcome the author, Jonar Nader to the show. That just strikes me as odd that somehow infuriating people and, you know, making things sort of – really sort of jumbling things up can actually have a positive effect.

Jonar Nader: Well, absolutely, it is positive because what it says is, “Look, life is too precious, it’s too valuable, it’s too beautiful to let all these idiots come your way and steal your life from you,” because at the end of the day what have you got but a little bit of energy and a little bit of life and it goes so quickly.

Host: Let me tell you, where did you learn that lesson, because you learned that lesson a hard way?

Jonar Nader: Yeah, well, I grew up in Lebanon, in Beirut, and went to Australia, I couldn’t speak a word of English, went back and the war started. And in the war, I could see life and death within seconds. And then when I went back to Australia I saw these people playing games, wasting life, and I should of think it was me, you know. Life is so beautiful, what are you guys doing? So, I left school at 14, went to study part time, joined the corporate jungle. And then as I got older and more senior and more senior, I thought, “You guys are the same kids at school, except now you’re wearing fancy ties, you drive fancy cars, and you’re still a bunch of idiots. Get out there and, you know, leave people alone. I’m going to say no. I’m not going to put up with this anymore.” It doesn’t mean you have to be unfriendly, it doesn’t mean you have to be obnoxious. It doesn’t mean you have to be difficult to get along with. Quite the opposite. You’re actually relaxed because you know the value of life.

Host: One of the things that you say in your book that is “How do we – How and why to infuriate your boss.” I mean this – for most of us – this is just, you know, unthinkable.

Jonar Nader: Yeah, and for how long is your boss and by boss, I mean, the whole corporate structure have their, you know, thumb on your head and they go, “You will do as I tell you.”

Host: I got a fake fingerprint right on the clock there.

Jonar Nader: I know, and I’m going bald from it. But the boss actually is normally a nice guy or a nice girl, right?

Host: Yeah.

Jonar Nader: But they have to put up with this culture, this thing we call culture. It’s not going to change until it changes right down at the bottom. And it’s usually the law of permissibility. If you accept all that nonsense that comes your way, most of your colleagues will accept it. If you stand up and rise and say, “Look boss, you know, I really don’t think this is the way we should be doing it.” The others will gain energy from you because it usually just takes the minority to create something big.

Host: And you’re talking about picking your fight because you’ve got to pick something that you know is winnable and right down to the core, you can solve the problems. Give me an example of the right fight.

Jonar Nader: Well, okay, first, before you pick any fight, you have to actually understand what value you add. You can’t just say, “I don’t like this. I’m going to change it.” Well, can you change it? So, before you pick any fight, build yourself. Learn about communication skills. Learn about the skill and the craft so that you become an expert. So many people out there are just loudmouths and they don’t know how to do it better. You know, everyone is politician and they go, “We should did this. We should do that,” but they don’t know how to do it better. Go learn how to do it better. Understand the network world in which we live. Now, you’re actually a real person, you’re not just some loudmouth running around, trying to change the world, you know, without any real value. Then, you can go and say, “Look, this is what I can do for you.” And most people are grateful if you can go to your boss. If you can go to your boss and say, “You know what? I can really do this for you.” And if you build the reputation, your boss will say, “Go for it.” And then when you go to negotiate a better deal, it doesn’t have to be about money, it could be about the work conditions, it could be about the environment.

Host: Sure.

Jonar Nader: Corporate life today is so depressing. And, look, they’re earning more and more money, and they’re just more and more depressed.

Host: Also, you’re talking about know the problem in the sense that maybe the problem really isn’t your boss. Maybe it’s the part of the culture. Maybe your boss, you have a high turnover rate. What happens there?

Jonar Nader: Let’s talk about culture. People would come and say, “Let’s change the culture.” Let me tell you, “You can not change the culture.” What you’ve got to do is to say, “Where does culture comes from?” Culture comes from things that are habits. Where did the habit from? It came from things that were once actions and activities that were permissible.

Host: Right.

Jonar Nader: And then once they’re permissible, they’re invisible. And people will end up doing them and, all of a sudden, it’s the actions that turn into habits that turn into culture. And I say if you want to change your culture, find someone who’s doing something, the habit, and stomp on it. But if you stump on it, they say, “Oh, why are you reacting?”

Host: All right. We’ve got to go very quickly, like 30 seconds.

Jonar Nader: Yeah.

Host: But you say very wisely, have an exit plan. And that means?

Jonar Nader: Well, it means have a backup plan. If you going to throw a punch, know where you’re going to fall. It’s a bit stupid jumping on horse without knowing, without a safety net. Have a safety net, whether that be your education, or another job or your own a small business, but – people to back you up.

Host: Jonar, thanks very much.

Jonar Nader: Yeah.

Host: I really appreciate it. And I like the different point of view, as well. And we’re going to tell the people that is a different take on corporate leadership. And if you’d like to learn more about it, you can read the book called “How to Lose Friends and Infuriate People”.

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