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As I was sitting in the office of another department head, I started noticing things on the walls. The walls weren’t filled with the ‘I love me’ certificates or notes of achievement that is come to be expected in an office setting. His walls and bookcases were filled with what seemed to be a random assortment of items. There was a stufffed cat, a picture of a donkey, a replica WWE championship belt and various photos that were somewhat embarrassing for the leader to have on display.

I started asking about all of the clutter, the seemingly off placement of items. What began as a conversation about culture and productivity.

He had created a culture in which the employees honestly felt as they were a family. The office was less of a shrine to himself and more of a display of inside jokes and memories of great times. Everything in the office, even the weird stuffed cat, had a meaning to someone or a group of people within the group. The stories that were told along with each item made it clear to me why his department when performing at such a high level of efficiency.

There was a large amount of trust built into the workgroup. There were a vast amount of memories made into each random item and with it an emotional connection to the workgroup.

As the trust and inside jokes increased, so did the productivity. The employees felt safe and welcomed. Simply creating an environment in which the people were the value had effectively made the workgroup under his command stick out.

How do you create an environment and atmosphere that makes people stay safe? Value others and embrace their personalities. Their and your careers depend upon it.