Healthy work culture

My morning smile came as I checked my overnight Twitter stream.  Then, it turned to a question.

At the Bring IT Together Conference last November, I attended a presentation by Sylvia Duckworth about how to create Sketchnotes.  I figured that, just by being in her presence, I’d somehow get the inspiration and skill to create my own.  I’ve got an idea that I would like to turn into one, just to say that I did.

As of this posting, it’s still a work in progress.  I’m trying; I really am.  It just isn’t coming together in any shape that wouldn’t embarrass me.  Fortunately, we have her expertise to keep us thinking and learning.

But, enough about my shortcomings.

Her latest offering appears below.

It’s part of my Sylvia collection.

After I enjoyed her work, I did my part and reshared her announcement of the Sketchnote.  It has been received well by others and I’m getting notices of it being liked and reshared.  That’s the good part of social media – good people recognizing and sharing good things.

Then, I sat down and took a good long look at the five links in her chain.  I think that the note is timely, coming a week after Bell’s Let’s Talk Day.

Why is there success about this day?  Because it’s not addressed openly and positively in the workplace and society.  Ask any employer and they’ll probably respond “Yes, we have a program.”  In fact, there may be a program or a mission statement within the organization for all of the links in the chain.  The program somehow checks off a box on a to-do list.

But, it must go further than that.  Take another look at the Sketchnote and Sylvia’s choice of words in the title.

She’s not identifying programs or statements; she’s identifying a culture within the workplace.

That’s an entirely different ball game. 

So the question and concern is this – take a look within your organization.  Are these links part of your culture?  Or are they just a program so that you can put a checkmark beside it and move on to something else.

Are you living it within your culture?



  1. I love this blogpost, Doug, and I’m very happy that the drawing resonated with you as much as the idea resonated with me. I drew it precisely because I wanted people to take a good, hard, long look at their organizations and ask themselves if all of the essentials for a health work culture were present. As an administrator/manager, if all the essentials are not there, it should be an impetus to take steps to make sure that they are. As a teacher/employee, if all of the essentials are not there, they should be motivated to ask questions about why they’re not, or look for a job elsewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks, both of you. I’m struggling with the apparent focus on mental health in some organizations right now, which feels like lip service if there isn’t a genuine culture behind it. I work in an environment where my colleagues and I are faced with students with many mental/emotional health challenges. I don’t feel that there’s enough support for students or staff in this area. What we have come to accept as a normal day is not normal, and while that may prove our resilience temporarily, I am becoming more and more concerned about the long-term effects on all of us. Building a culture that realistically addresses that is something I’m not seeing.

    Liked by 1 person

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