Culture wars and division all around
Nope, you cannot please them all
Significantly, maybe the very first thing to realize is you will not ever ultimately be able to ensure that everyone in your organization feels included, loved, needed and appreciated. Why such a harsh statement? Because it’s the truth! And it’s truth some people absolutely refuse to acknowledge in exchange for whatever their gain might be. The reason is simple: there are humans with emotions, likes, dislikes, experiences and did I say, emotions? All those factors contribute to every day and depending on where one or the other might be, today may look nearly the polar opposite of yesterday in the same building with the same employees doing the same jobs! Come on now, you know that’s true at your office too! If your place of business is always at the same speed, every day, in and out and everyone is utterly contented, someone is dosing your water cooler with more than just water!
The basics in human nature might help
But, there are basics we can draw on in every human’s nature that can help in the development of a culture of unity within a broader culture of division and me-centric thinking. I have found through the years that one of the most potent contributors to creating at the very least, a much more tolerable work environment, is when the people employed understand it’s not all about them. When they realize they are providing a vital contribution to something greater than themselves, there is a shift in the culture.
I observe young, eager ladder climbers who initially will step over a coworker to make an impression. Come on, we all did it to some extent right? It’s a massive part of our ‘me-centricity.’ But I’ve also noticed, as these new employees begin to realize how their work is interconnected with others, they begin to take on a help minded idea of what this culture will be all about for them as well.
That ‘other’ factor
Interestingly, what’s the ‘other’ factor? Slowly, as the newbie becomes familiar with the product, the customer and more telling than not the results, their enthusiasm grows from a place of genuinely desiring to make a difference in another’s life. As one of my employees put it recently, “I love the thought that I’m contributing to something that is saving lives that I will never meet!” And, there it is. The ‘other’ factor. This simple, priceless experience is more motivating than any paycheck, promotion, high-five or recognition. It dives deeper into our psyche than some of the most well laid me-first motivational arguments. Helping someone else changes things. Knowing you are helping someone else shifts things. Hearing and seeing the results of helping someone else motivates. This notion has caused many a hero to rise to the top, some under the most excruciating circumstances.
The fancy ten-dollar word for this is Altruism. Scientists know that altruism stimulates brains’ pleasure center. Layman’s terms say our bodies physically react positively inside of us, and usually unbeknownst to our cognition, every time we are altruistic. Imagine that. We make our own bodies happier inside by helping out someone else. Crazy right? But does this altruism thing affect OUR culture within THE culture?
OUR culture within THE culture
Covertly, how can we capitalize on that process to make our work environments more positive, balanced, and efficient? In our case, we join together and remind each other, root for each other and fully support each other. Why? Because we know we are helping someone ‘out there’ in our customer land that none of us actually interact with. We see pictures of customers who have horrific stories of falls, hospitalizations, etc. who are now standing or sitting there with their new-found protection on and they are smiling. Smiling!
Gratefully, they have restored peace of mind and confidence to get up tomorrow and do this life thing another day. Our culture and the members of it, when they see that, are all moved by that very sense of altruism, and our insides become happy for that moment. And we will take more and more and more of those moments. It’s why we show up at work.
Positive impact can be the secret change in a culture
And yes, the pay, the comradery, the work motivates us, but really, there’s nothing better than seeing that 78-year-old smile as she tells the story of how or product literally saved her life! Or how that Mom of that college student actually has decided to let her stay in the dorms for the first time because even though she’s at risk, she is now protected.
What a culture