My 3 year daughter: “Dad?”
Daughter with wide eyes and cheeky grin: “Can today be an ice cream day?”
Me: “Ice cream day? but it’s cloudy and a bit rainy”
“If we eat ice cream, maybe the sun will come out”
This is taking the idea of doing your way into believing or doing your way into a new way of thinking to the extreme, but a brilliant interpretation for a 3 year old.
Culture change is not about thinking, visions, words on walls, it’s about our actions and we behave. Visions can set out the direction we want to go, but our culture is created, reinforced through every interaction. While ‘big’ events can help, culture is everyday.
I remember working in an office years ago in which a fundraising team would ring a bell or something like that every time a member of the team secured funding from a donor. The amount did not matter. It was known as the ‘fun’ team in the office because of the little things it did.
The opposite can happen too when we don’t celebrate anything because, well, we’re just doing our job. This too creates culture, just a different one.
Culture is obviously much more than only about celebration and encouragement. And certainly encouragement doesn’t only happen publicly; there is a significant amount of encouragement occurring through quiet words, notes, and other ways.
But culture is about what we do, how we behave. Culture is less about what we say we are; culture is how we live. It is how we consistently show up. Culture is collective habits, reinforced everyday through behaviours, which sometimes become codified in policies over time, but most often just are.
Oh, and yes, we had ice cream in case you were wondering.