Culture & Community – Character Creates Opportunity®: August 9, 2018

We hear a great deal today about the culture in our communities, the workplace, our schools, and our connections with social media.  The culture, whether spoken or unspoken, is that shared set of values, attitudes, and social practices that set the tone for how we interact.

We all want a culture and a community where we can be free and safe to reach our full potential, hurting people can get the help they need, there is a willingness to listen and learn from different points of view, and there is steady progress in making the future better for the next few generations.

Creating the culture we desire starts with each one of us, not with someone else.  As we continue on our journey to build and strengthen our character, we need to not wait for the new boss, the new mayor, the new president, or the new leader to show up and declare a new culture, we need to leverage the connections we have around us to build the culture we desire.

Psychologists and social observers would say we all tend to look towards a leader, a king, a president or someone with social status to drive the agenda on culture and community.  This behavior helps us avoid the burden of responsibility when things go wrong. However, the truth is that culture and community emerge from the behaviors we exhibit in the connections we make day by day regardless of what we see and hear from those in traditional seats of power and influence. The entertainment industry, business, politics, and our communities have their own culture, not because of one person, but because of the shared behaviors of individuals over time.

As we look to build the culture and community we desire, here are few practical realities to help us stay on an effective path:

  1. Culture is the most powerful force we have to create the kind of community we wish to live in.
  2. Culture moves at glacial speed. It slowly grinds along and takes enormous effort to change direction, but where and when it moves, it changes things fundamentally for a very, very long time. Glaciers have enormous power, just like culture, but they don’t change course because of the occasional severe storm or heat wave.  They move and change with purposeful, long-term intention and decision.
  3. Culture is not created by a new boss, king or president. It is created by each one of us. Leadership can certainly help or hurt the culture, but how we behave with those around us directs the path of the glacier of culture in our communities.
  4. Culture starts within our homes. The initial behavior patterns of how we treat others with respect, how we show compassion, how we help others, how we deal with differences is all learned in the home.  The glacier of culture in our communities, workplace and world has its genesis in the home.

Regardless of our past experiences or current situation, we can start today to shift the direction of the glacier.

As we commit to daily actions anchored on principles like loyalty, teamwork, and understanding, we will build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity for us to shape the culture and the community in which we wish to live and direct the glacier to positively impact the next few generations.