Culture: a tale of 2 friends


You have two friends who have each asked you to help paint their house this weekend. For whatever reason you are committed to assisting both.

Friend A is the kind of friend who always has your back, looks out for your best interest, is genuinely grateful for your skills, challenges you, pushes you to be better, teaches you new things, and allows you to teach them new things. The friendship has few rules but is based on a mutual respect for each other and genuine interest in seeing each other do well.

Friend B Calls when they need something, then typically tells you how you didn’t help them in the right way. They Ignore your ideas as less important than theirs, typically talk about themselves a lot but don’t show much interest in your family and almost never respect your time. They tend to have a lot of rules and spend a lot of time making sure you are compliant and less time building any sort of relationship.

Saturday is Friend A, Sunday is Friend B.

Try to imagine your attitude, frame of mind, effort level, production, attention to detail that you would perform at on each day.

Same assignment, same person performing the task, but two different relationships with the person needing work to be done. Is it possible that you might feel more resentful on sunday. Maybe feel like cutting a few corners if your conscience will let you. Possibly feel less guilty about calling in sick and skipping or taking off early. At the very least, should your work ethic push you to provide great service, how’s your attitude about it?

This is your team. These are your employees. This is your tribe. There are still a lot of people that, while they acknowledge good and bad culture exist, still don’t see it as the core of better performance and success. People, employers, coaches who believe that it’s the problem of the people on the team to want to perform at their best, no matter how they feel they are treated or valued – they should do it for the honor of being a part of it. Washing their hands of culture, or perhaps, figuring they should figure that out on their own too.  The same people who beieve their role is to wait for a problem, and then try to stick a band-aid on it with a teambuilding activity. People still seeking to stabilize it instead of building it. People who think they don’t have time for that.

Culture is what shapes attitude, effort, belief systems, visions, loyalty.  Culture is not a written set of guidelines, a statement that’s made followed by a nod of understanding and then left in a drawer.

Culture is made up of the words being used, the follow through, the actions being taken, the opportunities being provided, the respect given, the open communication offered and received, and the deep seeded belief that fuels it all. If culture affects this much, does it make sense to leave the direction of your culture up to circumstance or hope they remember what was on that paper at the begining of being hired or being placed on the team?

Build a great intentional culture with your people, your team, your group, and they will build a legacy, and grow it far beyond the team who’s culture is cracked and being held together as an afterthought, with band-aids. You don’t have time NOT to.

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