It seems the “C” word goes in and out of fashion depending on a variety of circumstances.
Sometimes the “C” word is thrown around in conversation after conversation be it more commonly in the negative than the positive.
And for every use of the “C” word, there are an equal number of interpretations of just what it means.
We all know what represents a good “C” even if articulating this is challenging. We know what it feels and looks like but only when it is there before us.
However, we don’t always recognise a poor or bad “C” until it is too late.
What makes it even more difficult, is the definition of a good “C” may differ depending on the gender, authenticity, education, age and upbringing of the interpreter.
We are all adults, so time to stop talking in code and use the full word.
Take a piece of paper and see if you can describe in a single sentence just what is a good workplace ”Culture”.
Expanding on this exercise, look around and asses if your colleague, associate, leader or those you lead would agree with the sentence you have constructed.
We also tend to think in terms of Culture only when there is an issue or things go wrong.
Culture is almost exclusively linked to the work place. Surely it is just as important in other aspects of our life.
What is the Culture at our sporting or service club, the charity we support, the businesses we interact with at home or the schools our children attend. Are their cultures aligned with our own?
Also, should our work and non-work Culture belief be different. If we truly believe what we say (or write) as being desirable, we should want it to be present in all walks of life..
Poor Culture is far easier to identify than good Culture.
A Culture of “Winning at all costs” has been referenced in the negative following recent events involving one of our international sporting teams.
However, expressions such as “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing”* and “Winning isn’t life and death, it’s more important than that”** have been held up as positive and successful representations of good culture.
What are the differences?
I would argue there is no fundamental difference except for how empowered individuals feel to make and execute decisions.
In a sporting team, business, charity or school, the difference is the empowerment each individual feels to make sound, ethical, morality-based decisions and to execute them without fear nor favour.
I suggest this empowerment was missing from the Australian Cricket team and has been missing from some of our major financial institutions.
* First spoken by UCLA football coach Henry Saunders in 1950 but more commonly attributed to Vince Lombardi. Interestingly, towards the end of his life Lombardi expressed regret at having used this quote saying: "I wished I'd never said the thing...I meant the effort. I meant having a goal. I sure didn't mean for people to crush human values and morality."
**Variations of this are generally attributed to Liverpool Coach Bill Shankly in 1959.