Everything is awesome…or not


1ca85fbBy Kortney Nordrum CCEP, CHC

I was recently re-acquainted with the Lego Movie’s catchy little ditty, “Everything is Awesome.” A fair number of internet philosophers have pointed out the hefty satirical undertones of the song. As it stands, the song itself is presented as propaganda for the fascist Lord Business, used to keep his Lego world running the same as it always has.

As I tried desperately to get the song out of my head, I thought about how the song, and its message, would apply to the compliance world. Without a second listen, one would think the song was an upbeat testament to teamwork and stability. However, if you take context into consideration, you’ll soon realize that everything is, in fact, not awesome.

At work, we are often encouraged to be positive and to smile. When our supervisors ask us how we’re doing, we often don’t have to think before responding, “Good. You?” We are preconditioned to present news in the shiniest light and to make it seem like everything is okay—especially to management.

We do all of this for the sake of the team. We don’t want to be the “Debby Downer” or to be the bearer of bad news. We don’t want to complain and be seen as “whiny” or “high-maintenance.” So, instead we hold our heads up and proudly proclaim that “everything is awesome.”

[bctt tweet=”‘Everything is awesome’ culture is exactly what we don’t want @nordrumlaw” via=”no”]

“Everything is awesome” culture is exactly what we don’t want. It’s the opposite of what we’re striving for. No one stands up or speaks out. Problems get ignored or swept under the rug. Everyone is concerned with how things appear, rather than how they actually are.

While it might be nice not to have to deal with employee issues or complaints, the end result is that you become woefully ignorant to what’s happening in your organization, and that’s when bad things happen.  When everyone sugar coats the truth—or flat out lies about it—it helps no one.

So, the next time someone tells you everything is awesome, let them know that it’s okay if it’s not.



  1. Awesome! At least the blog is awesome to the extent that it acknowledges there are problems and we have to accept and face the same, not turn a blind eye to what is going on or discouraging the reporting of something wrong.
    The culture of speaking up and giving an ear to anything untoward has to be developed. That is the healthiest way of keeping any organization active and happy and content. The best results from all rungs would be borne once they know there is a system where issues can be reported and will also be addressed.
    First of all understanding that there is a problem and then realizing it’s relevant enough to be reported is the first step towards a genuinely awesome subsistence.

  2. The sad thing about ignoring the “not awesome” is that you’re ignoring the very problem that could make the organization better by fixing it. And you can’t fix it until you acknowledge its existence.

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