If we intend to build a culture of being more, What is the definition of culture? When I mention the word culture I am defining it as shared values.
In other words, what do we all share in common? Culture is what we collectively and similarly think and feel about each other when we are together.
What kind of culture do you want to build and be part of?
Let's take a look at culture as it applies at work as well as at home.
Consider this hypothetical work scenario. In the work environment, For instance, A team is assembled in which each member has great ideas, And they each vary in their personalities, roles, experience, and abilities.
Everyone seems friendly and cordial, But when asked to share their best practices and ideas, They rarely share their very best ideas, Because they know they may not get the credit for their ideas.
Others don't share their ideas because they don't trust each other. Others only share ideas when they are fully developed instead of trusting a process of developing ideas together.
Because the boss is the one asking for ideas, Everyone speaks up, But they don't share their very best ideas —just their mediocre once.
As a consequence, most ideas are a rehash of the last meeting Because they want to retain a personal competitive advantage within the team and get the individual bonus or recognition. One particular team member may have a great idea, But he'll save it for a private meeting with the boss.
What is the shared value in this instance?
Working independently and competition! The team leader may even talk about the benefits of teamwork, And there may even be a plaque on the wall talking about the declared values of teamwork, competition, And collaboration, But the value that is shared by all of the more accurate cultures that exist is internal competition.
The executive's first job is to create a culture where it's stated values are truly what the behaviours and attitudes say it is.
If the culture or value that is shared by all is positive, Then everything else can be built on the foundation. If not, Then cynicism develops and spreads like metastasizing cancer.
To the executives or for any manager having stewardship over other people, here is the question:
Are we focused on building the culture we want, or is our time-management context limited to a to-do list for the day?
Building and cultivating a healthy culture or shared value is equally important in the home. The primary job of parents is to decide and then to build what they would like as the family culture or shared values.
To illustrate, My wife comes from a large family and extended family. Let me clarify what I mean by large. When my wife's grandfather passed away over fifteen years ago he was survived by ten children, Sixty-five grandchildren, And over one hundred great-grand-children. Of course, The family is much larger than that now. Every summer there is a weekend family reunion, And families come from all over the United States.
When you have an extended family of this size and add to it the in-laws, You will have all the diversity of opinions, Socio-economic demographics, Education, And experience imaginable.
The family reunions are always held in a beautiful lush ranch in the backdrop of Bryce National Park. The ranch has been in the family for many years. There are two cabins on the ranch, And in front of one of the cabins is a large wooden porch at the edge of a pond. The water in the pond is supplied from a mountain stream. Because there are only two cabins and a large family, You come prepared with your camping gear for the weekend in the event you aren't lucky enough or early enough to get a room in the cabins.
Before going to my first reunion, My wife tried to prepare me as much as possible, As to what I should expect.
Of course, the biggest adjustment was seeing the sheer size of the gathering. The running joke between my wife and me as we would meet everyone at the ranch was,
“oh honey, You remember so and so. They were at our wedding.”
On Friday night, after the initial shock of seeing so many people at a family reunion, We were getting ready to go to sleep on our little tent. I asked my wife what I should expect on Saturday.
She said the setting is very casual and nothing scheduled other than the meals. Certain families are assigned to prepare the meals for everyone, And the assignment rotates yearly. She said everyone gets up pretty early. The children play games and the adults talk and mingle.
Then she gave me the proverbial, “Oh yeah and one more thing” speech. She said when people come to the ranch for the first time, at some point during Saturday, the uncles and cousins will gather around you, hold and swing you by your wrist and ankles, and from the porch, they'll throw you into the pond!
You can run if you like, She said, And that's part of the fun, but know that with hundreds of people chasing you down, It is impossible to getaway.
I asked her if anyone was exempt from being thrown in. She said there are only a few exceptions. You have to be a great grandparent's, sick, injured, Or pregnant.
Not wanting to get thrown in the pond, The next morning I managed to commandeer and put on a dress.
With a pillow under the dress, I pretended to be pregnant. I made a sign that I hung around my neck. It read: ineligible for the pond. Much of this large extended family was already awake and gathered together for an outdoor breakfast feast when I came on the scene complete with my outfit, My sign, And my best “I'm nine months pregnant” walk.
There was laughter throughout breakfast, And I could see the uncles and cousins in my peripheral view giving the signals to each other saying, “We'll throw him in the pond first”.
Shortly after breakfast, I could sense that the hunt was on, And I made a run for it. I didn't get far, And into the pond that I went.
Did I mention that the water from the pond is supplied by a mountain stream? It was cold! I came out of the water to applause, And I was officially initiated into the family.
Throughout the day I made my rounds talking to the uncles, Aunts, Cousins, And in-laws, As well as the grandparents.
I was observing the interaction within this large and diverse family And concluded that the culture of shared value was acceptance. I felt accepted in my first experience at the family reunion and every time I have gone. I feel the same acceptance when I visit with extended family members in different settings. My children feel the same acceptance.
My parents and siblings feel acceptance as they mingle with my wife's extended family.
Think of different families that you may visit. Recall the feeling when you visit the homes of your extended family, Friends, Work colleagues, And neighbours.
What would you say is the culture or the values they truly share in their homes? What do you think others would say is the shared value in your home? What would you like your family culture or shared values to be?
This article was written by @Sarahmay - a submission for the $10 Contest.