I look at ‘culture’ as our underlying reasons for doing things, and I view ‘social’ expression as our conventional ways of doing things — the behaviors that are observable and express the values and norms that underlie action. Hence, the culture of an organization is revealed through the behaviors and conversations that occur within that organization.
Mostly, the ‘culture’ of an organization “just happens.” A group of people get together to create something and they begin working on that ‘something.’ The norms and values that inform beliefs and the rules that establish and regulate behavior are, largely, invisible and unremarked.
Sometimes, when new programs or organizations form, the individuals involved take the time to build the foundation of their organization and have conversations about their values, their vision and their mission; as well as their guidelines for working together. In doing so, they are creating a common ground for all who participate. They are weaving a story for their ‘reason for being’ based upon their shared values and vision. The long-term impact of doing this early, conscious work, is cultural resonance – clarity of intention, clarity of expectations, and clarity of doing the work.
Without doing the work of creating a shared story, and shared meanings, the potential for conflict and misunderstandings is high. A sense of discomfort, discord, disharmony is too often experienced by people, especially during times of stress, transition, and change. This happens as a result of not having something to grasp onto when unexpected and unexplained change occurs. Breakdowns in communication, and misunderstanding of expectations, occur regularly, leading people to ask questions such as, “Why am I here?” “What impact am I making and for whom?”
I wonder as you read this:
- what questions do you have about your own workplace?
- What conversations do feel are missing?
- What conversations are you having that lead to a stronger sense of belonging?
- How would you transform a mood of dissonance in your organizations and your teams to a mood of resonance?