We all want to be proud of the company we work for. We all want to be part of a great culture, that makes us feel valued and brings out our best work. Although we all hear and read about those inspiring companies, not everyone is lucky enough to work at them. So, what can you do to make yours better?

Although a complete culture change is not something you can do on your own, you are still part of it, and therefore have the power to influence it for the better. Here’s how to get the ball rolling:

Do not allow anyone to talk your company down
It’s oh so easy to complain about all the things that are going wrong within your company. And there’s always some colleague at a coffee or cigarette break doing exactly that. When people do nothing but complain, take issue with them. Ask them politely to shut up. Tell them every time they complain a cute puppy dies. If they keep it up: get management involved. There’s nothing more disastrous for a high-spirit culture than toxic people.

Start talking your company up
Act like a winner — as if you’re part of the best company on Earth. Focus on the things that are going well. Share this regularly with others in- and outside the company. Your company’s reputation is built on a few people. Be one of them.

Take action on things you can control
Focusing on the things you can’t control is a great way to get frustrated and a good first step towards burning out. Instead, take a look at the things that you can control, and ask yourself how you can improve them. Even better: ask your favourite colleagues to join you in a quick brainstorm over coffee or a beer. It will speed up your efforts.

Give credit where it's due
When you recognise people for their efforts, their individual success and team contributions improve significantly (about 14%). Recognition from a direct colleague is often even more valued than recognition from senior leadership. Make a habit of recognising others for their great work. Think someone you work with is adding value to the team or company? Tell them. Be specific and do it openly. It’s the best way to win their heart (and commitment).

Keep a positive attitude
Assuming you are not working with Vogons, remember that things aren’t all that bad. All problems are just unanswered questions. Looking at it like this will give you more energy to stay positive and keep improving your own company culture.

Don’t ask for permission
You don’t need permission from anyone to improve your culture. Take responsibility. Start on your own and keep going. Before you know it, you’ll inspire others with your positive attitude and your focus on action.