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Introducing the Levels of Influence

Updated: Apr 10

We look at companies as social ecosystems. 

Companies are living, breathing organizations full of people who bring all kinds of things to work every day.

Every company has its goals, projects, and plans that they're trying to accomplish. 

And all of these factors make up the dynamic nature of any organization.

You and your employees show up to work every morning either with people who make your day and your work easier and more rewarding, or more frustrating and challenging, just a grind to get through. 

Some days it feels like an eight hour day is 15 hours long when you're showing up in an environment where it's tough for you to work alongside other people who are struggling to support the work you're doing. 

Every organization’s culture is created through three distinct levels of influence. These levels help us understand where our biggest opportunities lie to shift our culture for the better - and who is responsible for those shifts.

We call these levels The Influence Ecosystem. 

We have, at the highest level, the macro influence. 

This is the culture that is created at the entire organization level. 

The CEO and the company's senior leaders build this culture based on the mission and vision they set for the company, as well as the strategic goals that they lay out and communicate (or don't communicate!) to their people well. 

How does senior leadership show up every day? Do they model the core values of the company? Are they accountable to others and the work that they do? Do they recognize and interact with team members, no matter what level of the organization they're in?

The way senior leaders show up creates this overarching macro culture inside the company.

Next is the micro influence. 

This influence is the culture created within each team, the micro-culture an individual manager creates for their people. You've probably heard the stats from Gallup that say 70% of the variance of how engaged employees feel is due to the manager that's above them.

How is that manager showing up for their people? How are they giving feedback and recognizing and acknowledging their employees? Are they creating a positive and accountable environment on their team?

The way each manager leads has a significant impact on how employees feel engaged in the workplace, which makes the micro culture an essential influence level for any high performing team.

Finally, we have the meso influence.

The meso level is the intervening layer between macro and micro. 

No single person owns the culture at the meso level. The Meso culture is created through the way the senior leaders, the managers, and individual team members connect across the organization. How are these populations supporting one another and reaching across lines? Where are there silos or a lack of communication?

Also, how does each team member feel about the work they're doing? Are they in the right place inside the company, and do they feel they can contribute to the organization's success? 

These factors make up a complex layer we call the meso influence. 

Understanding these three levels, there's a couple of things to acknowledge:

The ecosystem lens helps leaders understand there's not one person who can make culture healthy or make employees feel engaged. That's both good and bad news. It's good because it's not on just the CEO, just the head of HR, or just an individual manager to foster and facilitate a healthy culture.

The downside is, this means everybody plays a role in how engaged and healthy the entire organization is. No matter your role, no matter your title, and no matter how long you've been inside the company, every person has a role to play in how healthy an organization is by how they show up and how they connect with other people. Understanding the full scope of responsibility for culture is critical for organizations who want to be successful, retain their people, and achieve their goals. 

In the upcoming three posts, we will dive deeper into these three concepts: the macro, micro, and meso influence factors, so you can better understand and act on each of these levels of influence inside your organization.

If you want to dig in more on what this looks like for your organization, we would love to support you. We can help you assess and improve the health of each level inside your company. 

This is what we're doing with all of our client companies when they use CultureID, and we would love to have a deeper conversation with you about this, so you can take this information, dig into it and act on it right away.

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