The following tips are excerpted from an article by Veronique James, former CEO of The James Agency and published in Inc., Magazine, July 2018

1. BEGIN WITH GRATITUDE – It is a privilege, not a right, to work together. Begin each week with a 15-minute, all-hands team meeting where the first item on the agenda is team kudos. Giving people a vehicle to express appreciation for one another raises the morale of the entire group, establishes a positive tone for the week and helps people feel acknowledged and valued.

2. CREATE A SAFE ENVIRONMENT – There is nothing more damaging than toxicity in a workplace environment. It stifles new ideas and inhibits collaboration. Creating a safe work environment means eliminating negative personalities and respecting every idea. Lead with honesty, integrity, and vulnerability to help your employees feel safe.

3. DON’T LEAVE YOUR DIRTY DISHES IN THE SINK – This metaphor essentially means, “Don’t leave a mess for someone else to clean.” Not leaving a mess is the functional interpretation, but the emotional definition is, “Respect everyone’s time.” If someone has to take time away from their daily responsibilities to clean up after you, you are basically saying you don’t care about their time. Time is our most valuable currency.

4. THERE ARE ONLY OPPORTUNITIES IN BUSINESS, NOT PROBLEMS – When emotions are high and stress levels skyrocket, even the smallest workplace issues can seem like towering boulders. Every problem is an opportunity to reflect, analyze, and evaluate so that next time – and there’s always a next time – we’ll do better.

5. CONSISTENCY IS KEY – There are so many new trends in company culture it’s easy to be tempted by what may seem like worthwhile practices, but the same tactics don’t work for every company. Consistency is key, rather than being distracted by the latest professional culture craze. Although change can be healthy, disrupting a good thing can be detrimental and affect the cultural balance of your organization.

6. ENCOURAGE POSITIVE THINKING – Life is short. Why waste time on negative behaviors that don’t align with your business’ moral compass? Encourage your team to think positively – All. The. Time. Even when things seem to be spinning out of control or we didn’t achieve the result we anticipated, positive thinking will eventually cultivate positive outcomes.

7. DON’T SACRIFICE THE IMPORTANT FOR THE URGENT – It’s easy to forego team meetings for an urgent client call or another meeting, but that connection with your team is crucial to maintaining a positive workplace culture. Without a regular connection to your people, the mission, vision, and energy of the business can quickly dilute and degrade your cultural fiber.

Dependability, structure, clarity, and meaningful work are all ingredients that, when combined, can culminate in a solid foundation for a positive workplace. Add your own awesome sauce and viola – you have the magic recipe!